Informal market removed due to increase in crimes

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POLICE have removed the crime-ridden informal market adjacent to the Waigani Market and Kone Tigers Oval in Port Moresby due to increasing crime and harassment.
National Capital District metropolitan zone two commander Chief Insp Tobby Hamago said Waigani police and zone support units were tasked to remove the market after members of the community raised complaints to police.
Hamago said the venue had recently become a hub for illegal liquor sales, gambling, cannabis trade, stealing and other illegal activities.
He said a lot of women had become victims of bag and phone-snatching and harassment by drunks.
Police responded to many of these complaints in the past and countless warnings were done by police in attempts to encourage the people to change their attitude, but the pleas had fallen on deaf ears, he said.
When stressing the problems happening in that part of the city, Hamago said: “Unfortunately the people plying their trade in this area think they live in a world of their own, with their own set of rules.”
Three weeks ago two policemen from the Waigani Police Station were attacked by a drunken mob when they went there to arrest a suspect.
Hamago said when previous attempts were made by police to remove the market, people were using social media to accuse police of abusing the rights of citizens.
In one particular post, a woman was reportedly killed but this story was later dispelled when it became clear that she was treated for minor abrasions and released from hospital after being trampled by a stampeding crowd that fled when police came to arrest a crime suspect.
Hamago said the market was illegal and police would not hesitate to arrest and charge lawbreakers.
He said anyone caught selling their wares at the location would be arrested and charged for loitering.
“What we are doing is for the benefit of the larger peace-loving community and not for a minority group who want to make fast money through illegal activities,” Hamago said.
The zone commander has deployed police personnel at the location on static duties since Thursday.