JULIA DAIA BORE
THREE Asian men from whom illegal firearms and ammunition were confiscated in Western Highlands and Enga provinces during Operation High Altitude recently, had no firearms licences at the time of the raids.
However, the leader of the three allegedly acquired a verified firearms licence from the police headquarters the same afternoon after the raid on his premises in the early hours of Oct 29.
During the raid, an assortment of firearms and ammunition were confiscated by officers from the Transnational Crimes Unit (TCU) and Customs, information from police has revealed.
It is understood that one of the trio is Malaysian and the other two are mainland Chinese.
One of them was illegally employed as he did not have a work permit
to be working in a business set-up in Porgera, Enga province, but he had been issued with a firearms licence from the police headquarters in Konedobu the following day.
Similarly, a Mt Hagen businessman, who at the time of the raid on Oct 29 had no firearms licence, was on the same afternoon issued with a firearms licence from police headquarters in Konedobu.
Police and Customs officers, who were involved in Operation High Altitude,were investigating to establish who in the police hierarchy was responsible for granting the licence in such a hurry to the foreigners.
One of the three is a leading Mt Hagen businessman, who operates a string of supermarkets throughout the Highlands region.
All confiscated items have been transported to Port Moresby with further investigations to be conducted by the police officers concerned before charges are laid, officers involved in the investigations said last Friday.
The Operation High Altitude on Oct 29 was conducted in Minj, Banz, Mt Hagen town and in Porgera on Oct 30 mainly to confiscate counterfeit cigarettes (Cambridge and Pall Mall) being smuggled into the Highlands region.