By GABRIEL LAHOC
THE mother and cousin of the “woman lawyer” who helped in the escape of suspected bank robber William Kapris and 11 others from the Bomana maximum security facility on Jan 12 are accusing the police of detaining them illegally for four days from Feb 11.
Recalling their ordeal at the hands of the police, Betty Kwipa, 47, and her niece Priscilla, 17, said they were asleep at 4am when four fully armed policemen entered their house in East Taraka.
“The policemen started ransacking the rooms amid a tirade of questions.
“Every basket, bilum, bag and suitcase was searched thoroughly, and they took two mobile phones and questioned me regarding all the contacts in the phonebook.
“An MP4 music player and K85 in my bilum were also lost in the search,” Mrs Kwipa said.
With dawn approaching, Mrs Kwipa and her niece were forced into a vehicle and were taken to the Top Town police station where they were detained.
The next day, the four policemen, whom she believed were of Central, Sepik, New Guinea Islands and Highlands, took Mrs Kwipa and her niece up to Mt Lunaman where they were separated, threatened and questioned.
“They told us that if we did not help give the information they wanted, they would kill us and bury us in the mountains,” Priscilla said.
“My husband was also contacted via the cell phone and questioned about the whereabouts of our daughter.
“My shocked husband, a highway truck driver, told police that he had not heard from our daughter and even appealed to them to tell her where she is,” Mrs Kwipa said.
In the afternoon, they were brought back to their home where the policemen approached neighbours to cross check some of the information extracted from Mrs Kwipa and Priscilla.
They were then taken back to their cells where some Lae police officers questioned the legality of their detention.
Her husband and other relatives went to the police station last Saturday but they were denied access to the two women.
After another torturous day in confinement, they were released on Sunday afternoon and a Lae police officer gave them K2 as bus fare home.
The family has pledged to sue the State for damages done to the family.