ONE youth was shot dead and three seriously wounded in two stolen vehicles when they were confronted by security guards at a road block at 14-Mile, near Lae, last Friday.
Four others escaped from the bullet-riddled vehicles, but were captured by settlers who kicked, punched, stoned and stabbed them, according to eyewitnesses.
According to police, the eight-man gang had earlier held up an expatriate engineer on the Okuk Highway at Erap, in the Leron plains of Morobe province.
Police said the engineer was contracted to national electricity provider, PNG Power, and was near Markham Farms, 60km out of Lae, when he was held up.
They said that the gang was in a stolen Mazda double-cab utility and had driven up to the engineer, forced him out of his Toyota Landcruiser and drove off, both vehicles heading to Lae.
The victim immediately sought help from Markham Farms and pursued the two stolen vehicles while also calling the Guard Dog security company in Lae for help.
The security firm responded by placing two vehicles at 14-Mile to stop the gang.
Witnesses from nearby settlements said later that when the stolen vehicles appeared around the bend near Yha Hauka Coffee Mill, the guards opened fire and punctured the tyres of both vehicles, sending them crashing into the bushes.
The gang members also shot back before their stolen vehicles were forced to stop.
They said the security guards kept firing in retaliation.
And when four of them tried to escape into nearby bushes, the settlers took over and physically assaulted them before they were handed over to police.
The dead youth is now at the Angau Memorial Hospital morgue awaiting a post-mortem while seven of his accomplices are in Lae police custody.
Guards handed over three rifles and two pistols and some ammunition found in the utility to police.