Mobile unit named in Hides death

National, Normal

The National- Tuesday, January 25, 2011


POLICE mobile unit personnel deployed to provide security at the Hides 4 project may be partly responsible for the latest work stoppage at the LNG conditioning plant site.

Reports from the site indicated that police mobile squad members might have been involved in the beating death of a person at the site on Saturday after he was discovered wearing police clothes taken in a raid on the Hides 4 camp by landowners.

Acting Police Commissioner Tony Wagambie released a statement last night announcing the deployment of more police into the area but did not raise any report on the beating.

Hides 4 Holdings chairman Tony Lambiawi told The National from the project site during there was a rampage last Friday night by angry relatives of a boy who died after he allegedly ingested some power.

During the raid villagers took properties properties belonging to employees of Clough Curtain Joint Venture (CCJV), an international engineering firm engaged in the early work of the multi-billion-kina PNG LNG projects in Southern Highlands, as well as those of the police mobile squad uniforms. 

Lambiawi said the villages’ actions angered police who, on Saturday morning, bashed a man near a market place at Hides 4 after they caught him wearing a police uniform t-shirt and a pair of socks, which was believed to have been taken from a room of a policeman during the raid by the angry villagers last Friday. The man was believed to have died from his injuries.

Fearing further trouble and revenge from relatives of the man, employees fled the camp site. 

He said about 16 vehicles under police escort transported most of the workers out of the camp site to Tari station while others were flown by helicopter to Mendi and other camp sites.  Some employees who had remained, left yesterday by helicopter. 

He said the body of the person killed by police was later identified as a man from Koroba and not from Hides 4. 

Lambiawe also said the villagers also made a compensation payment to police at the conditioning plant for their own unlawful raids.

He said villagers of Hides 4 gave K7,500 and a pig to police to compensate for their unlawful actions, adding that the landowners’ grievances over the disbursement by the state of business development grants was yet to be addressed.

In meetings with the company, the landowners agreed to company request to extend the deadline by 11 days.