MORE than K70,000 was stolen from a plantation in Madang province the previous week but police were only informed of the robbery last week because of its remoteness.
The robbers had cut off the left ear of the owner’s nephew to force him to open the safe where the money was kept at Norm Plantation, owned by Benny Leahy, in Saidor district.
Provincial police commander Chief Insp Anthony Wagambie Jr said police had arrested one man and charged him with armed robbery but they had not recovered the stolen K74,751, which was mostly plantation workers’ pay.
Chief Insp Wagambie said Mr Leahy’s nephew, Benny Leahy, was driving back to the plantation when he stopped at a roadblock set up by the robbers who forced him out of the vehicle and tied him up.
He said the robbers could not start the vehicle so they took Mr Leahy’s nephew into the manager’s house and forced him to open the safe after torturing him and cutting off his ear.
Chief Insp Wagambie said Bennyand the house girl, who was in the house when the robbers arrived, managed to escape through the back door to get help.
He said in the course of the robbery, the robbers destroyed the plantation’s communication network, making it impossible to alert police in Madang quickly.
They also stole other valuables before escaping in a waiting dinghy.
Momase police chief and ACP Giossi Labi condemned the robbery, saying that the plantation provided work for many people in the Saidor area.
“Why do we continue to attack and steal from those who are helping our rural population?” Mr Labi said.
He appealed to business houses to be security conscious when conducting business.