IF you are travelling along the Highlands Highway you will really need to carry at least K500 in K20 or K50 notes so you can at least ‘hand shake’ with the police officers who are frequently conducting roadblocks at every step of the way along the length of the highway.
I had heard this from a frequent traveller (a PMV driver) and wanted to see it for myself, so I decided to drive up to Mt Hagen from Lae in a hired car.
The first roadblock was at the top of Kassam Pass.
They ordered me to park the vehicle on the side of the road and instead of checking for registration or vehicle defects or licence etc, the police officer went off to attend to another vehicle that was in the queue and at the back of me. He ignored me for a good 30 minutes, so I had to approach him and ask him what the holdup was for me getting back on the road.
He just told me in a menacing tone to go back and stand beside my car.
He approached after some time and asked to see my licence, which I produced.
Asked where I got the licence issued, I told him it was in Port Moresby. He asked other questions which seemed so privy to me, yet I answered straight on.
If it wasn’t for my offsider who offered the police officer some betel nuts, we would have been there a little longer. As soon as he got the betel nut, he let us go.
There was another roadblock at 4-Mile near Kainantu township.
We were again put through the same barrage of questions. Another handshake with betel nut saved us again.
Throughout the length of the trip, we were confronted by police at roadblocks five times before reaching Mt Hagen.
If PMV drivers and public motorists travelling the Highlands Highway are going through this every day, I guess by now the respective traffic officers or police officers involved would be saving so much in their personal accounts because I am sure that none of these fines and “hand shake” money end up in the district or provincial treasury account.
Would very much appreciate if the PPC of the Highlands provinces investigate these fraudulent operations by police officers.
Frustrated Road Traveller