By JULIA DAIA BORE
A LONG-serving policeman and father of seven was shot dead at close range yesterday while escorting a company’s pay-run in Port Moresby.
The shooting took place during the afternoon rush hour outside the Correctional Services headquarters at Hohola about 4.30pm.
He was named as Paul Waim, from Kerowagi, Chimbu, who was stationed at Moreguina, in Central’s Abau district.
Waim and another policeman were escorting a rubber company cash banking and pay run from the Abau district when they were attacked in the city.
Eyewitnesses said Waim and his colleague and others were in a utility vehicle driving slowly towards the busy Wards Drive from Islander Drive when their vehicle was intercepted by another utility vehicle near the Islander drain and the CS headquarters.
They said they saw the killers, armed with weapons, step out their vehicle, a silver-brown Toyota Hilux, and confronted the passengers in the intercepted utility.
One eyewitness said: “They came out with high-powered guns and shouted to the driver to leave the utility, screaming, ‘come out, you come’.
“Then, one of the men holding onto the weapon, appeared to be holding a pistol, fired six to seven continuous shots at the policeman.
“The gun was emptied on the policeman who was in uniform.”
The impact of the bullets threw Waim back, flat on the seat in the vehicle.
“The armed men then rushed into their vehicle and sped off toward Hohola.” The sound of gunshots drew a large crowd who tried to help before the other policeman, apparently unhurt, drove his wounded colleague to Port Moresby General Hospital.
Another eyewitness said they also noticed the killers remove two weapons from the utility which the policemen were in before they fled the scene.
One eyewitnesses described the scene as “just straight out a movie” and that “things happened so swiftly, fast and unsuspicious”.
Port Moresby police could not be contacted to confirm whether any money was stolen.
Central police commander Chief Supt John Maru, who was at the Port Moresby General Hospital late yesterday to arrange for the release of the body, had called on companies seeking police escort to provide a separate vehicle from the vehicle carrying the money.
Maru also condemned the lack of resources and inadequate funding of the police force which he said was the reason why policemen in escort situations, such as yesterday’s, were left to carry out the escort, travelling in the same vehicle as that carrying the cash.