The National, Wednesday 03rd April 2013
By PETER ESOP WARI
EIGHT men have been charged with damaging property at the Bisamu exploration camp in Lake Kopiago district, Hela, police say.
The men were flown to Tari by helicopter and have been detained at the police station there.
Hela provincial police commander Supt Jimmy Onopia confirmed the incident, saying everything was under control and the men had been charged.
Police said that on Tuesday, March 5, the management of Harmony Gold Exploration (PNG) Ltd and Travers Drillers had a meeting at 6.30pm at the Bisamu camp. It was to announce the sacking of Benny John, a Traverse Drillers offsider, for kicking a lunch pack and slapping a security guard.
John denied any wrongdoing and walked out of the office. It was alleged that John then approached a HGEL security guard and slapped him. He also threatened to hit him with a bush knife.
One of the deployed police officers then punched Benny and hit him with a gun butt.
He told John to pack his belongings and leave camp.
It was alleged that when the nearby communities heard what had happened, they rushed into the camp and damaged company property.
It was also reported that the lock to the main gate was smashed. Locals rushed into the mess, storeroom and the core shed and stole food.