The National, Wednesday 1st May 2013
By MALUM NALU
THE alleged assault of Lae-based businessman Hamish Sharp by members of the Immigration Task Force last Thursday has taken on a new twist.
This time EMTV is joining the fray and claiming that one of its staff members was assaulted by Sharp and one of its cameras damaged.
EMTV, which showed footage of the incident on Monday, however, said its two staff – journalist Edwin Fidelis and driver Jimmy Iyona – were not involved in the alleged assault of Sharp.
This follows media reports yesterday of Sharp claiming that he was assaulted by members of the task force, who entered his Bismark Maritime office, in search of suspected illegal aliens from Asia.
He is the younger brother of Rabaul Shipping owner, Peter Sharp, whose mv Rabaul Queen sank off Finschhafen, Morobe, in February last year with an undisclosed number of people losing their lives.
Sharp was contacted for comment, however, none was forthcoming.
EMTV general manager Tukaha Mua said Sharp’s attack was one on the freedom of the press, and that it was pursuing legal action.
“Last Thursday, two EMTV staff were invited by, and accompanied Immigration Task Force members on a visit to Bismark Maritime in Lae,” he explained.
“The crew were continuing a series of stories on illegal foreign workers living and working in Lae.
“Upon reaching the Bismark Maritime property, our crew followed the task force into the administration building upon advice by security staff to meet with Hamish Sharp, the managing director of Bismark Maritime.
“Once in the office, Sharp confronted task force officers and demanded to see a warrant.
“In the course of this, he saw the uniform of one of our staff and lunged at him.
“A second staff member switched his camera on to document further actions.
“On seeing him, Sharp turned to the staff member holding the camera and assaulted him.
“Up to this point, we have footage of the matter as it happened in the office.
“However, with his actions, Sharp damaged our camera.
“After assaulting the second staff member, Sharp was taken outside the office where he pursued his assault on the uniformed staff member.
“He was later subdued by police.
“While we sympathise with the injuries he subsequently received, neither of the EMTV staff were responsible Sharp’s injuries.
“EMTV fully supports our staff on this issue and calls on members of the public to understand and respect the role of the media – particularly on matters of immense public interest,” Mua said.
The National was unable to obtain comments from Sharp on the attack on the EMTV crew and the assault on his own person.