The National, Thursday, April 28, 2011
DAMAGE caused by the recent riot in Kimbe town, West New Britain, amounted to K15 million, an initial assessment has found, police said.
But provincial police commander Richard Mulou said this figure could rise.
Chief Insp Mulou, who is heading the second phase of an independent investigation focusing on destruction and looting from the riot, said the K15 million was calculated from business houses that came forward to list stock that had been lost in the riot and looting that followed.
The riot was sparked by alleged police beatings that led to the death of a Talasea man.
Relatives of the man then went on a rampage in town during which people looted shops and damaged properties.
Among business damaged or looted were Big Mart Trading which had its shop burnt down with loss of property estimated at K8 million, Welkam Trading with K6,000, Rabaul Shipping branch K21,000, Post Office K2,000 and Remington Technologies losing about K6 million worth of property.
He said other shops and business houses had yet to say how much they had lost.
Mulou said the “man-made disaster” had caused so much destruction in Kimbe town and it was fortunate not one female was assaulted or harassed during the riot and looting.
He said recent media reports that police and government representatives had paid compensation to the relatives of late Emil Hare from Liapo village, in Talasea, should not be seen as compensation.
Mulou stressed compensation was illegal.
He said given the sensitivity of the situation, it was only fitting that police and government representatives support with K100,000 to help with funeral expenses and as part of the traditional custom in the New Guinea Islands.
He said the payment would alleviate tension and police were only looking at the practicality of the situation.
The first phase of the investigation headed by deputy police commander for New Guinea Islands Anton Billy resulted in two more policemen being charged with murder while another officer has been identified as a possible suspect.
So far four officers have been arrested and charged with murder of Hare.