By MIRIAM ZARRIGA
SOME lodges in the capital city have been operating as brothels, with eight people taken in for questioning by Immigration and Citizenship Authority (ICA) officials on Saturday.
Chief Migration Officer Stanis Hulahau said the “spot checks” were conducted after two months of “intelligence gathering” around the city.
“Several foreign-owned businesses operating in the city were suspected to be conducting disreputable business activities that do not conform to regulatory standards including visa and work permit obligations,” he said.
ICA officers and police conducted the spot checks on seven businesses in Port Moresby.
Two of the eight were released because they had refugee status.
They are now under the care of the International Organisation for Migration.
Six have been detained at the Bomana Immigration Centre while their visa status are assessed today.
They will be deported if they have breached their visa conditions.
The officers discovered that some lodges in the city were used as brothels, with rooms going for K50 an hour, K80 for three hours, and K100 for a day.
Hulahau warned foreigners that while they were welcome to conduct business in the country, “they must comply with all laws, including having valid visas to remain legally in the country”.
“The ICA has been issuing visas to all foreign nationals who applied through the formal process to encourage foreign investment, stimulate economic growth, create employment, skills transfer and retain skilled foreign employees during this challenging time,” he said.
“But I am also mindful of the national security issues concerning the conduct of certain foreign nationals engaging in undesirable businesses in the country.”
The spot checks were carried out at Vadavada, 2-Mile, Gordon, Rainbow Estate, 5-Mile and Erima.
“The operation revealed the prevalence of certain foreign nationals conducting undesirable businesses in the country,” Hulahau said.
“I want to remind those foreign nationals working illegally, overstaying or having discrepancies with their visas to come and see us.
“I will be working with my colleagues at the Internal Revenue Commission, Customs, Police and IPA to ensure foreigners respect our laws on visas, tax regimes and other areas.
“Let me make it clear that foreign nationals are always welcome to conduct businesses in the country, but they must comply with all our laws including having valid visas to remain legally in the country.”
By MIRIAM ZARRIGA