The National, Thursday 20th September, 2012
ON Sept 7, a UPNG student was beaten up by some members of a police mobile unit.
I understand that this mobile squad is currently deployed to OK Tedi to provide security for the pipeline construction from Tabubil to Bige.
All that the student was doing to was to try to earn some money for his studies by selling betel nuts.
After buying some from Ningerum, he was waiting for the PMV to go back to Tabubil when these rogue police officers approached him.
I watched as the incident took place, but did not have my camera with me.
They went straight to the student, grabbed his bag of betel nuts and started punching him.
The student tried to explain, but the policemen ignored his pleas and only stopped when he finally took out his student ID.
The assault was totally unacceptable.
They are supposed to perform their duties within the premises of OK Tedi Mining, not terrorising innocent people.
There is also no need for a mobile squad along the Tabubil-Kiunga Highway as it is a peaceful place to travel on.
With the exception of health reasons, betel nut is not illegal in PNG.
If necessary, the police could have just confiscated the betel nuts.
The government must seriously look into the recruitment criteria,
Recruits should have gone to college or university.
If you are one of the members of the police task force hired by OK Tedi, shame on you for contributing to the downfall of the police’s reputation.