By MIRIAM ZARRIGA
SEVEN of the 81 students arrested last weekend on a Kokopo beach for their alleged involvement in illegal activities are expected to appear in court on Thursday, police say.
East New Britain police commander Chief Inspector Joseph Tabali said the seven were charged with possessing homebrew and marijuana.
The other 74 have been charged with loitering, and are expected to appear in court next week because it will take time to complete their files for the court.
“Because it’s a large group of students, the court documents of the 74 are still being prepared and they will most likely appear in court next week,” Tabali said.
Police were alerted of the group by two girls who claimed to have been robbed of their bags and phones when they went to deliver food to their boyfriends in the group on Saturday. Police found the 81, between the ages of 16 and 20, on Mamapua beach between Butuwin and the Kokopo Secondary School in Kokopo district allegedly “worshipping” a youth believed to be their cult leader.
Police marched them back to the Kokopo police station where they were detained overnight.
“The reason we kept them overnight was because they were drunk and unable to talk properly to police,” Tabali said.
“On Sunday, we began talking to them and called all their parents who expressed their disappointment on the activities of their sons.”
The 81 are attending the Malabunga Secondary School, Warangoi High School, Boisen Secondary School and Sunrise Code School in Rabaul district.
Tabali has informed the schools of what the students had been charged with.
“While we charge them according to the law, the schools will deal with them according to their regulations,’’ Tabali said.
Police granted a K100 bail to each of the 74 charged with loitering and K400 to six charged with being in possession of marijuana and homebrew. One was denied bail and detained.
Provincial administrator Wilson Matava called an emergency meeting of the provincial education board which he chairs after being informed of the incident by Tabali.
Tabali urged parents to be alert as to the whereabouts of their children at all times.
“If your child comes home late, question him or her where they have been.
“Know where your child is. You do not want police calling you to come down to the station or worse the morgue to identify your child.”
By MIRIAM ZARRIGA