Suspect dies, uniforms and masks recovered in Madang

National, Normal

The National – Wednesday, December 22, 2010

POLICE in Madang shot dead a member of an armed criminal gang that was terrorising business and innocent people in Madang last Friday.
Provincial police commander Supt Anthony Wagambie Jnr told The National that Madang police shot dead a criminal by police after a heavy gun fire exchange with criminals along the Transgogol road leading to Mawan outside Madang last Friday at around 10.30am.
Wagambie  said that the shootout with the criminals led to the death of the member of the armed gang.
He said the Madang Police Rapid Response Unit (RRU) was on regular patrol along the Transgogol road received information that there was a suspicious motor vehicle speeding near a logging camp belonging to PNG Timbers.
After receiving the news, the team travelled towards Mawan and intercepted the vehicle, a Toyota Land cruiser 10-seater full of youths, who were wanted criminals from town.
He said that a police RRU vehicle was immediately dispatched to the area, under commander RRU Madang Snr Const Daniel Kapen and five members.
Wagambie said that the police unit met the vehicle a few metres way from the main Lae-Madang Highway when they realised that the occupants were armed.
He said upon seeing the vehicle  approaching, the police put on the blue lights and signalled them to stop but the vehicle sped past the police vehicle and then stopped about 3m away from the police vehicle and men pulled out high powered firearms and started shooting at the police.
Wagambie said that the criminals were armed with two high powered firearms, a M16 automatic rifle, an AR15 rifle, two pistols and a shotgun.
“The criminal’s bullets penetrated through the off-sider’s window, smashing it to pieces and narrowly missing Kapen, who ducked for cover.
“Other rounds went through, taking out the driver’s rear view mirror, more bullets penetrated, went through the left and right side of the police vehicle and the police driver and the rest of the crew narrowly escaped being killed in the heavy gun fire,” he said.
He said police and the criminals engaged in gun fire for about 30 minutes that resulted in the death of one of the gang members who was later found dead near a ditch, armed with a single shot shotgun.
Other members of the gang escaped while the vehicle used by the criminals was towed back to Jomba police station after it overturned in a ditch.
A search of the vehicle used by the criminals found bags containing four pairs of police field uniforms and some wigs and masks.
These were alleged to have been  used in armed robberies where suspects were dressed as policemen.