Have visa, Aussies warned

National, Normal

The National, Tuesday February 25th, 2014

 THE Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is warning citizens they need to have a visa from March 1 before arriving in Papua New Guinea.

In its latest travel advisory issued last Thursday, the department warned Australian citizens visiting PNG to exercise a high degree of caution because of the high levels of serious crime. 

Papua New Guinea is one of 53 countries where they “exercise a high degree of caution” the advisory said. 

It added in PNG Australians should pay close attention to personal security at all times and monitor the media for information about possible new safety or security risks. 

“From March 1 Australians visiting PNG will no longer be able to apply for a visa on arrival. 

“Australians are advised to obtain a visa for PNG before travelling,” the advisory said. 

“Quarantine restrictions prevent travellers from bringing fruit and vegetables into the country.”

The department said large crowds and public gatherings should be avoided as they may turn violent. 

“Crime rates are high, particularly in the capital, Port Moresby, and in Lae, Mt Hagen and other parts of the Highland provinces. 

“The violent attack on a trekking party in September 2013 demonstrates that serious crimes can occur in any part of the country. Since June 2011, there have been a number of violent incidents in parts of the Highlands, Northern, Central, South Bougainville and Morobe. 

“Ethnic disputes continue to flare up around the country. Disputes can quickly escalate into violent clashes. Such clashes not only create danger within the immediate area but promote a general atmosphere of lawlessness, with an associated increase in opportunistic crime.”

“Car-jacking is an ever-present threat, particularly in Port Moresby and Lae. Car doors should be locked with windows up at all times and caution should be taken when travelling after dark. In the evening or at night, we recommend you travel in a convoy.