The National, Monday 3rd June 2013
By PETER ESOP WARI
A GROUP of police officers caught red-handed by their boss collecting money from motorists at a roadblock on the Highlands Highway fled down a slope for dear life.
Assistant Police Commissioner (highlands) Teddy Tei was returning home from a police conference in Lae last Monday when he saw the officers from Eastern Highlands and Chimbu conducting illegal roadblocks and collecting K100 from every passing vehicle.
They escaped down a slope in full uniform when confronted by Tei at about 1am.
Tei said he had a mind to shoot them as they fled from the scene.
“I would have fired shots at them with a view to kill such liabilities to this society. But about 30 to 40 vehicles were at the roadblock so I did not,” Tei said.
He said some police officers in the Highlands region were defying the code of conduct enforced by the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary by setting up illegal roadblocks on the national highway to collect money from motorists.
Tei said the group comprised reservists and auxiliary policemen armed with guns last Monday at Daulo in the Eastern Highlands.
Tei said he was driving back from Lae after the police commissioners’ conference when he came across the roadblock. He saw the officers collecting K100 each from motorists at Daulo.
“I confronted them and when they saw me, all of them jumped over the cliff in full uniform and escaped,” he said.
“I would have fired shots at them with a view to kill such liabilities to this society.
“But approximately 30 to 40 vehicles were at the roadblock so I did not.”
He said while the police force was striving to reduce crime in the country, its own officers “camouflage themselves in police uniforms and commit the very crimes police were trying their best to contain”.
“I am directing the provincial police commander of Eastern Highlands and Chimbu to have these matter rectified or both will face the consequences.
“If worse comes to worse; I would ask the travelling public to do citizen arrest on those criminals conducting illegal roadblocks and hand them over to police stations or hand them to me in Mt Hagen and I will crucify them,” he said.
“I have issued instructions to all provincial police commanders to disseminate my directives to all personnel to refrain from conducting illegal roadblocks and (not to) demand cash, cigarettes and betel nuts.”
He said he had warned them earlier and the officers stopped setting up roadblocks. But now the illegal and corrupt practice is back.
Tei said “small stupid narrow-minded criminals dressed in police uniforms and stealing from the general public were a disgrace to the constabulary”.
“The job of police is to protect lives and properties and (police) are doing the opposite by robbing innocent people who are struggling to earn a living,” he said.
Motorists who might have been stopped at this roadblock and who paid some money are asked to provide details to The National by calling 324 6722 or email [email protected]