Security boost sees drop in smuggling of firecrackers

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Tightening up of police security has seen a significant drop in the amount of Indonesian-made firecrackers being smuggled into Papua New Guinea, a magistrate says.
The result has seen less use of crackers in West Sepik, senior provincial Magistrate Sasa Inkung said.
“We are not hearing firecrackers these days in Vanimo town, unlike last year and the previous years when there was an excessive use at this time of the year,” he said.
“I want to thank the police commander Chief Inspector Moses Ibsagi for getting on his officers to crack down on firecrackers. At this time of the year, firecrackers would be firing all over the town. Even when we are in the courthouse.
“Although it’s too early to say that, we’ll just wait and see during the Christmas and New Year eves.
“But then usually at time like this leading up to the Christmas and New Year eves, firecrackers are already going off. Now, if we are seeing a drop, it will be the same during the Christmas and New Year eve.”
Inkung said previously border law enforcement agencies were not keen in clamping down on the smuggling of firecrackers. Earlier, Ibsagi had promised to stop firecrackers being smuggled into PNG through the Indonesian border.
He said clamping down at the border meant getting rid of firecrackers in the entire country.
“I can assure you that no one in PNG will celebrate the 2019 New Year with cheap Indonesian-made firecrackers,” he said.
“I’m getting reports from the other police commanders that firecrackers are causing problems for them.”
Ibsagi said there was a high demand for firecrackers in the country during Christmas and New Year.
“These firecrackers are brought across the border into the province and then taken to Wewak in East Sepik. From there, they are taken to other centres,” he said.
“It is big business for people involved in this illegal trading.
“For example, an eight-round firecracker is bought at Batas for K7 and sold on the streets of Port Moresby for K70. Prices are different in other areas, depending on the demand and the cost of transportation.” Vanimo District Court has issued warrant of arrest for three alleged firecracker smugglers for failing to appear in court, senior magistrate Sasa Inkung says, adding that several other people had been dealt with by the court in cases related to firecrackers.

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