By Annette Kora in Kavieng
A police chief on the small tropical volcanic island of Lihir in Papua New Guinea’s New Ireland province has launched a campaign to purge the community of marijuana cultivation.
Lihir police station commander Senior Inspector Elizah Taksir has made an appeal for islanders to report marijuana growers following information received about people engaging in illegal activities.
Taskir said the police woudl be keeping a look out for those cultivating marijuana and despite the fact that the police on Lihir had limited resources, they would still monitor the illegal activities and arrest those involved.
Takir was speaking following the recent jailing of a man who had been charged with cultivating marijuana, adding that police would conduct awareness programmes in communities about cultivating of marijuana.
Toby Kabarol, 29, from Lakurumau Village near Kavieng, was arrested and charged after he was caught cultivating marijuana on a piece of land at Kunaye Village near Lihir Secondary School.
The plants were reported by the owner of the land to police, who went into the area and uprooted the marijuana plants. The suspect escaped but was later recaptured and arrested.
He has appeared at the Lihir District Court recently and was sentenced to one year’s imprisonment with hard labour.
The island has a population of about 18,000 and is the site of Ladolam gold mine operated by Newcrest Mining.