Drugs, bribery ‘uncovered’

National, Normal


ILLEGAL synthetic drugs are being exported using elaborate networks operated by Asians, the bipartisan parliamentary committee hearing evidence on the May anti-Asian riots has been told.
The committee was also told that bribes were offered by these operators to senior police to turn a blind eye to their illegal activities.
Deputy police commissioner (operations) Raphael Huafolo and assistant police commissioner Victor Isouvi, who is director for crimes, said in evidence that even their senior officers were taking sides on which illegal aliens should be arrested and which ones should not be.
“The situation is very scary when (criminals) get protection from senior officers,” DCP Huafolo said.
The committee members, chairman Jamie Maxtone-Graham, West New Britain Governor Peter Humphries, Lagaip-Porgera MP Philip Kikala and Bulolo MP Sam Basil, concluded that a highly organised crime syndicate was involved in illegal activities in PNG.
The two senior law enforcement officers said illegal activities and businesses were rife and police work was hampered by lack of resources, division in the police hierarchy over arrests of aliens, interference from senior police officers and public servants, Members of Parliament, ministers and in-laws from “marriages of convenience”.
ACP Isouvi said drug trafficking, prostitution, illegal gambling and horse-race machines had been identified by police as some of the illegal activities happening in the country.
He said that during a recent police raid, women were found hiding gambling dice in their underwear and bras and some, in fear of police, swallowed the dice to avoid charges.
He said synthetic and hard drugs had been brought in and used exclusively by a certain group of people.
ACP Isouvi said police had information that drugs were now imported in large numbers as medical drugs which go straight into clandestine facilities to be converted to synthetic drugs for export.
“We have information but it is very difficult to penetrate into these highly secretive organisations,” he said.
He said these secretive organisations allowed only certain trusted individuals into their operations.
DCP Huafolo said police had been conducting investigations into alleged illegal business activities but the Asians go through the Department of Labour and Employment and police officers with bribes and, when they were arrested, were soon set free.
He said there were cases where if an alleged illegal was taken to the police station, senior police and public servants turned up, telling the arresting officers that it was wrong to arrest that person.
DCP Huafolo said a syndicate was also operating in PNG, getting monies from smaller businesses as protection fees which were then used to bribe PNG officials and for legal protection.
He said mobile phones and other assistance had been given out as well.
The two also alleged that a lot of money was being kept by businessmen at home for emergency use in bribery or buying protection.
The two officers called for tough legislation to be enacted and also for police to be provided with resources to fully enforce the law.