Lae police chief calls on state agencies, NGOs to tackle illegal settlements

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Lae's Metropolitan Superintendent Chris Kunyanban
Lae's Metropolitan Superintendent Chris Kunyanban ... illegal settlements blamed as "breeding grounds for criminals and petty crimes". Image: PNG Post-Courier

Asia Pacific Report newsdesk

The Lae police chief has called on government agencies and non-government organisations to address illegal settlements in and around Papua New Guinea’s second city that de described as “breeding grounds for criminals and petty crimes”, reports the PNG Post-Courier.

“Lae City has many challenges in terms of law and order and we have to identify the main root cause of it,” Metropolitan Superintendent Chris Kunyanban said.

“I want all stakeholders to work together with police on how this issue can be addressed.”

He said the city could not turn a blind eye to what was happening and “always blame the police”.

“Whether you’re a police officer, community leader, church leader, company employee or government employee, we all contribute to this community in terms of services and other things,” he said in a statement.

“It is a community oriented approached that we need to work in partnership to fix our community.”

Superintendent Kunyanban said every time police were being blamed for law and order issues without properly identifying what caused people to become involved in crime.

Increase in crime
The increase in criminal activities in general — petty crimes (like pick pocketing, phone snatching and harassment) in public places — were mainly from people living in illegal settlement in and around Lae, he said.

“Banana block is one classic example of people who having been giving headaches to police in terms of criminal activities.

“Pick pocketing is now happening at Top Town, Eriku and has increased in Main Market. Our manpower is less and we cannot cover all areas at the same time.”

When police received complaints and attend to those areas that were unmanned, it was stretching resources and logistics, he said.

Superintendent Chris Kunyanban said that the population increase also contributed to the issue and government agencies needed to do something about it.

“Police have been arresting offenders but new ones have emerged raising the questions where and how these things are coming from?” he added.

Republished from the PNG Post-Courier with permission.

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