The National, Wednesday July 24th, 2013
PAPUA New Guinea’s most wanted man, William Kapris, has been killed by police.
The convicted bank robber, who had been on the run for the last 10 weeks, was shot dead near Doa in Central, about 45km northwest of Port Moresby.
Kapris’ accomplice Raphael Walimini, a convicted murderer, was also killed in the shootout, which ended a massive manhunt by police who had offered a reward of K100,000 each for the pair.
Five other people, including two women and a Defence Force soldier, who were travelling with Kapris and Walimini, have been arrested and locked up at the Boroko police cells.
Assistant Police Commander Jim Andrews told reporters on Monday night that police had gone to Doa to apprehend the escapees after a tip off.
“After three months of operations … today we caught up with him following a tip-off from the public. As we were moving in to apprehend them, there was an exchange of fire,” Andrews told reporters on Monday night.
He added that no police officers were injured in the shootout.
The Port Moresby General Hospital premises was a scene of screaming red and blue lights and loud horns as a police convoy, numbering more than 20 vehicles escorted the corpses to the morgue at around 10.10pm.
As word of the capture and shooting dead of the country’s notorious criminal spread throughout the city, the populace outside the hospital premises grew in numbers. Security was stepped up and only a few people were allowed in.
The bodies of Kapris and Walimini were laid out inside the morgue area where police forensics officers quickly moved in and took over. They were soon joined by flashes from reporters’ cameras.
Bullet wounds were visible in most parts of their bodies, particularly below their knees.
For about an hour, uniformed and media personnel continued in and out of the morgue area, observing and taking photographs of the corpses.
When all the excitement finally subsided and the hospital gates opened, members of the public who had gathered outside moved in. However, control was again reinforced when police told people that the hospital grounds belonged to the sick. Kapris and Walimini were inside the morgue and there was nothing more to see that Monday night.
According to police, more than 30 Royal PNG Constabulary personnel were used in the operation to recapture Kapris, who was known in PNG for a series of robberies at Bank South Pacific branches.
Kapris and Walimini escaped Port Moresby’s Bomana prison on May 14 after walking out the front gate.
In 2010, the country’s most wanted serial bank robber escaped from custody in a Toyota truck after taking a warder hostage.
He was aided that time by a woman who, posing as a lawyer, pulled a gun on guards.
He was rearrested a short time later, along with several jail staff who allegedly assisted his escape.
It was not the first time Kapris had escaped PNG’s justice system.
Before being captured in 2008, he had been on the run for eight years after escaping police detention while convalescing at Port Moresby General Hospital.