Tuesday, 13 March 2007

end of February 2007

February 2007

27th armed robbery Ela Motors. Security guards tied-up. Parts and equipment stolen

28th theft
Masurina. Dingy stolen. One suspect apprehended. One escaped.

Motor vehicles in Alotau

A number of traffic hazards are occurring because traffic policing has ceased.

There is simply no visible policing at all on the streets of Alotau.

We are hesitant to even mention this, because the response is usually heavy-handed, and inappropriate: road-blocks. In this blog, there are cases of allegations of police beating motorists.

But there is now a bad situation that is causing concern.

The problem is not just bad policing. There is also bad street lighting, poor supervision of transport/taxi licensing, and poor liquor licensing control.

Much could be done by companies self-regulating. Company management need to be strict with their drivers. Alotau is a small town. Dob-in bad drivers in to their bosses.

In the past few years Milne Bay has prospered and there are a lot more vehicles on the road. At times there are mini-traffic jams.

The main concerns are

* speeding by taxis, delivery vehicles from the main stores, and heavy trucks moving oil palm.

* heavy trucks transporting containers with the container not fastened down. This is very dangerous as if the container slid off the vehicle there could be a major accident.

* drunks. these offences occur mainly at night, with drunks driving around. Sedan cars have been seen in the ditches. The drunks pull them out before the police get to them.

* one person killed near or on the pedestrian crossing at Sanderson Bay at night by a motor vehicle. This pedestrian crossing has no street light. Sanderson Bay has a "night-life" and street lighting is necessary.

Causes of crime in Milne Bay: an Essay

Milne Bay needs a redistribution of wealth, goods and services to young people, both male and female, and a renovation of its justice system, if the issue of crime is to be addressed in any meaningful manner.

What should be done?

  • reduce the national debt, and the need to pay-off state loans; move the money saved to youth and women

  • reduce the size of the public sector wage bill, and move the money saved to youth and women.

  • target the percentile of the population who are prone to crime, so they are brought within the mainstream of society and the economy. Ensure this group have a future: jobs, land, business opportunity, housing, entertainment and sport.
  • restructure the economy away from big-foreign investment, towards people-orientated agriculture, small and medium scale enterprises.

  • renovate the justice sector by

* re-organising local government to focus on community security

* abolishing the RPNG Constabulary and starting the police again, decentralised, with provincial command & control, and political accountability within the province.

*The emphasis should be on community security, by the community.

* putting a superior court of record in Alotau, with a system of either juries or assessors, capable of circuiting to all districts, integrated with a village or community court system managed by and accountable to the superior court of record.

*justice sector building program, court-houses,

* emphasis on non-custodial justice, with jail reserved for the dangerous and intractable
*build-up non-custodial responses to violence and deception.

* emphasis on non-judicial dispute resolution

* abolish the distinction between civil and criminal, and get a new set of procedures to deal with all issues.

* break-up the lawyers monopoly and court-costs systems,

Why should this be so?

Read on:

1. No political leadership on crime at provincial level

The justice system is about to collapse and current political leadership on crime is divided between those who simply do not have the intellectual capacity to think through complex economic, social and political issues, and those that do have this capacity.

Politically, thinking about crime, is very much a matter of "old style", and "new style" leadership.

The preponderance of current political leadership is too old fashioned, reflecting colonial, knee-jerk thinking. The central values of that thinking are "retribution", "tinkering" with existing institutions, and the colonial punitive-raid, where police raid villages, and beat communities.

Although at the national level, at election-time, there is now some indication of partial reform from the Minister for Justice Biri Kimilsopa, and Dame Carol Kidu in Social Services, these attitudes are not reflected by the Prime Minister and the bunch of power-brokers that surround him. We are only just seeing the roll-out of a national policy on juvenile crime, in time for the elections. Nor do we see a change operating at provincial level. At provincial level there is no debate. Only a vacuum and silence.

2. The root causes of crime in Milne Bay

The mistake in colonial criminological thinking is to see crime as a separate issue to be dealt with by the so-called "criminal justice system", when crime is, in very general terms, more like a rational response by aliened youth to an unjust economic and social system.

Most crime is committed by males within the age range of 15 to 35. The victims of crime, and this largely male percentile, are suffering. The suffering is not "the disease", it is a mere "symptom" of the disease. Most criminals get off scot-free because the system does not detect them, or if they are caught, many escape the system by jumping bail or absconding. So a sub-culture of crime grows both in and outside the jails. As most people in Papua New Guinea are poor, the links between the criminal sub-culture, and the traditional groups, are strong. In any case the government is weak. Its arm does not reach very far, so it is largely ignored. The government is outside the problem, and simply cannot get inside it. So we can see that the root causes of crime are much deeper than the governments current approach.

Objectively (what goes on outside the human mind), the root causes of crime lie in the economy and society. Objectively, a male aged 25, is more likely to commit an offence, than a female aged 45. It is the male population percentile between the aged of 15 and 35 that commits offences. But not all of this percentile is vulnerable. As the so-called "modern-economy" simply has no chance of offering employment to all young people, youth is largely doomed to drifting between rural-production, the informal sector, doing nothing, and crime.

Those in school or employment tend not to commit crime. The profile of an offender is largely male (although increasing female too), 15 to 35, unemployed, out of school, brokeneducation opportunity, home-less, land-less, powerless, no future,.

Subjectively (what goes on inside the human mind) not all poor youths chose to do criminal acts, so the individual has a a choice.

For the past two hundred years, largely due to the poor science of Jeremy Bentham and those who followed, our criminal justice systems have accepted the argument that we are all responsible for our individual acts. This individualistic value was also at the core of the enforceable contract. Contracts were the cornerstone of capitalism. So Bentham was popular with the neo-classical economists and penal-code and prison architects. This unscientific premises are at odds with Melanesian values of collective responsibility. The responsibility for transgressions of the individual should be shared by kinsman.

Scientifically, we are pretty-well "hard-wired". Given an adverse social-setting, human reaction is predictable. It is possible for individuals to take control of their destiny, and be good, but it is by no means easy. Peer-pressure on the young, and poverty make the choice to be crime-free, very hard, if not impossible. Those who are poor and starving have little regard for property-rights. The hungry place a low priority on legality, although the myth is strong in novels, movies and theatre, that righteousness will overcome temptation. In reality, self-preservation tends to assert itself.

3. Alienated Youth

Youth are isolated from the mainstream economy. They are alienated. More than that they are cheated, because much of the social surplus that could go to ease their pain on a per capita basis, gets redirected elsewhere into the pockets of older people. At national level, about 18% of the budget goes to debt repayment. At provincial level K32 million is spent on salaries of public employees (most of these are over 25 years old), out a budget of K38 million.

Although much of the national and provincial budget is targeted into the education, these economic benefits do not go to youth. The education budget is taken up by salaries and leave fares paid to employed teachers. So the most vulnerable percentile is ignored as a socio-political target of budgeting and political consciousness.

Alienated youth have no opportunities at all. They are people without a future. Within the customary system they find it harder to cope with older people. The antagonisms between age-groups have sharpened. Customary land is in short-supply. Arranged marriages are far more difficult. Village-life is dull and boring. Town land is so expensive that urban youth have no chance of owning a house of their own. Jobs are hard. When they are available, they are poorly paid, and often oppressive. Educate youth is not stupid; it will not work for peanuts, and tyrants. They move from job to job or drop-out. There is no opportunity at all for youth business because the competition from older and more experienced generations fighting for survival is so intense. In these circumstances, the way of the gun can appear quite rational, as it suggests there is simply no other way to get along within the current system of values.

3. Human rights abuses of youth.

Policing methods of the "colonial-raid" and and "the biff" have alienated much of the population. Few people support the police. Victims may go to the police, but this is a last resort. The police have "lost" it. Youth are amongst the worst sufferers of police human rights abuse. The beating of youth is all too common. Police openly beat youths in public. The newspapers carry the photographs. The Ombudsman Commission cites the police as being the top state institution for violating human rights. It is possible to view an inchoate rebellion of youth against state authority. Criminals in Milne Bay are organised, if at all, in only loose gangs, with no ideology as such, and only the most basic organisation. As we have seen in elsewhere, with similar demographics, that can change rapidly: Sri Lanka 1971, Kampuchea, Palestine, Bougainville. Young men get sucked into the "great-game" of war.

4 the dysfunctional system of justice

the justice sector is tottering in Milne Bay:

* there is no Judge in the province, so review of lower court actions is expensive and slow.

* there is no house for a judge

* courthouses are too small, and in bad repair.

* the legal and court procedures used are too slow, out of date, and a license for lawyers to mint money.

* there are no juries or assessors, so the system is elitist and undemocratic.

* the laws themselves are out of date, and unsuited to the circumstances of the province, we have a Queensland Criminal Code and New South Wales civil procedure.

* far too many people are sent to jail, and there is not enough non-custodial treatment.

* judicial review of administrative action is virtually impossible in Milne Bay, and in any case very expensive.

* there is no Ombudsman Commission, no ICCC complaints mechanism

* the division between criminal wrongs and civil wrongs is inappropriate.

* the lawyers monopoly is too expensive, they lock us into a medieval system, quite unsuitable for Milne Bay.

* there is no justice sector-planning, or coordination in the province

Sunday, 11 February 2007

February 2007

4th Sunday break & enter, Kiwiwa Holdings store & petrol station, early hours of the morning during a rain-storm. Rear-door forced. tinned meat & bales of sugar stolen. Police & CIB did not attend for finger-printing : no cooperation, even though police station is about 400 metres from scene of the crime.

9th Friday armed robbery residence 350 metres from police station. Security-guard bashed, windows of vehicles smashed. Alleged offender in police custody. Ganiebu gang alleged to be involved.

10th Saturday armed robbery Top-town residence. Resident with small child in vehicle was stopped at his gates, factory-made shot-guns used to intimidate him, car stolen & damaged, but later recovered.

Tuesday, 16 January 2007



Civil society in Alotau

  • hears regularly of general problems of police discipline. Allegations that ranks and NCOs intimidate officers. Allegations that police are involved in rackets.

  • is aware that the trouble areas in Alotau for criminal activity are Ganaibeu, and the area between the Charles Abel Highway and KB.

  • knows of the names of two persons alleged to be gang-leaders and responsible for armed robberies around Alotau

  • is of the opinion that armed robbery is being used to collect money for the elections.

5th January

Attempted armed robbery: 2 armed men attempted to rob Henry Gibson in the Yato'o Furniture premises KB. Police responded quickly to the alert but the offenders got away.

13th January

Theft: Woman shopping in a supermarket had her purse stolen by a pick-pocket. K120 stolen

15th January

a new Provincial Police Commander arrived in Alotau. Mr. Poma.

16th January

Piracy: three offenders, armed with 1 factory made shotgun, and 2 bushknives, in a 1 dinghy with a 55HP Outboard, boarded a Kiwali Fishing boat just off Nigila and made off with a largish sum. The Captain and Supercargo were both slashed with bushknives. A suspect has been identified.

This offence was previously reported as an armed robbery at Kiwali/Nako Fisheries very large amount of money stolen. The beche de mer season has started. The immediate inference of this robbery is that is was "an inside job", with employees aiding & abetting.

17th January (date approximate)

Break & enter Samarai, Coral Sea Mariculture. Pearl-shells & pearls stoeln. The thieves were apprehended and taken to Alotau. But police in Alotau improperly released them. Owners travelled to Alotau and complained. Thieves were re-arrested.

18th January

robbery : gravel-pit area Charles Abel Highway outskirts of Alotau. Driver and passenger of vehicle were stopped by group of drunk men, menaced, and items stolen.

26th January

armed robbery: Napatana Lodge 0300. Offenders had guns. PASS Security guards slashed with bush-knives and beaten. Stero-system stolen. It is believed that this crime was a "pay-back" for an employee who was sacked for embezzlement, and for the contracting of PASS Security. Napatana is about 800 m from the Police Station.

29th January

armed robbery: "My underground source says that Popendetta [men] are planning to hold-up one of the banks... Police have been notified..." This message was passed on to the banks.

summary for January 2007

  • A new Provincial Police Commander has arrived in Alotau.

  • The police are said to be re-organising internally. The results are slow and difficult.

  • There are areas in Alotau that are crime-prevalent: Ganaibeu, the area between the Charles Abel Highway and KB, the gravel-pit, Bottom Town.

  • Two, possibly three, armed-gangs were operating in the Alotau area during January 2007.

  • Ex-criminal thought to be preparing for the elections.

  • Use of dingies and powerful outboard motors for armed robbery now common and serious.

  • No action on the loss of government control over lawlessness around Molima and Salakadi on Ferguson Island.

  • No action on Neighbourhood Watch groups

  • No action on youth alienation, support to youth, youth training, youth housing, and the causes of crime.

  • No action on informal housing, settlers and settlement.

  • Provincial leaders and police do not communicate with the People.

Tuesday, 26 December 2006

Milne Bay Crime 2006

Milne Bay crime-watch:
no "development" with "crime"

2006: analysis
Back to the future: Murder Inc.
Continuous crime problem on Ferguson Island.
Molima and Salakadi particular areas of alleged criminal activity. Crime sustained by : rising population, no development, isolation, and the evaporation of government and ineffective political leadership.
Criminal-ring, based at Salakadi, alleged to run a business for assassination. Reserve-police, ex-serviceman, LLG representatives, village-court, and staff at Esa'ala, alleged to be complicit. Some arrests, but much of Ferguson Island outside the law. Policing, local administration (kiaps) , Village Courts, LLGs: ineffective. No law sector coordination at district level.
Policing made worse by continual reports of police brutality, that stops community support for the law.
Piracy: reports that villagers coming from Ferguson Island to Alotau, by work-boats are being attacked by men in banana-boats operating around East Cape and Bubuleta. In previous years there have been reports of piracy in the China Strait area.
Alotau: the virtual collapse of policing (bad management, no discipline, drunkenness/booze & buai-culture, habitual violence) sees the an increased visibility of urban crime. No grade 5 magistrate causes delays, long custody-periods awaiting trial, & escapes. No coordination of policing, courts CIS at provincial level.
Apparent rise in urban break & enter, armed robbery, as no visible pro-active community policing, and the risks of detection decrease.
Urban land & housing priced out of the reach of most Papua New Guineans.
No housing for poor and low or medium income groups, incapacity in town administration, and lack of control over vacant government land force urban poor and low & medium income groups, to occupy vacant government land.
Peri-urban customary landowners allow unregulated settlement.
Alotau Urban Local Level Government, provincial government administration unable to cope with peri-urban settlements. Effective land administration hampered by centralisation of land registries and powers in Port Moresby.
New shipping services bring in settlers, and criminals-on-the-run.

the log:

23rd Break & Enter: Masurina Lodge


2nd Escape from custody: Giligili Corrective Institutions: Chamber of Commerce report break-out. No CIS, or police confirmation until November 15th Post Courier;

8-9th Armed Robbery: Kedus Trade-store Golonai

16th Break & Enter Mecca 44 hole cut in fence, and stealing

19th Break & Enter Mecca 44 hole cut in fence and stealing

21st Armed robbery, Islands Petroleum 0100 hrs approx, security guards assaulted (guard smashed in face with gun-butt); break & enter, hole cut in fence and stealing


Escape from custody: report of break out from Lae Buino Corrective Institution. Criminals land in Alotau via MV Milne Bay

2rd Armed Robbery: Masurina Guest-house; some criminals arrested; suspects believed to be six more more from in and around the town and settlements, working together with escapees from Giligili Corrective Institution.

8th Armed Robbery: Executive Hires Taxi

10th Wilful Murder, Armed Robbery: Naura village trade-store, shop manager shot and died en route to seek medical help in Alotau

11th Armed Robbery: AsiaPac Century Star, Sanderson Bay, criminal detained and beaten by local community; handed to police; pistol recovered by police.

Human Rights violation: Police beat-up two youths at Middle-Town bush-area; youths employed at the time of Asiapac robbery by Top-Town resident, and quite innocent.

12th Armed Robbery: Alotau Tyre Service, 0300 approximate.

17th Human Rights violation: at 8.30pm , a Police vehicle was some 100 meters near 9906 Bishop Block, when Milne Bay Estates vehicle, LO24 turn right heading towards Waigani. The police followed and stopped the truck ( LO24), pulled the driver out of the truck, and punched him on his face. It is thought that the police alleged that the vehicle had not given-way, when drawing out onto the main road. The LO24 driver, named, was badly punched by a Policeman (named) from Alotau Police Station at the main entrance where the sign board is. LO24 was doing the labour-run to Waigani, when the Police stopped him . The LO24 driver had a swollen eye which was attended to. Witnesses suspected that all the police were drunk. This is the third incident known to MBE staff, in which a (named) Alotau police member punched Milne Bay Estates drivers, for not giving -way along the Main highway.

27th Armed Robbery Napatana Lodge: 0100 approximate five masked youths, with guns, arrived through the back way and held a gun to the head of the guards. They stole a portable security light. The guards followed the criminals to the Abau Compound. Police failed to make a search, or make arrests. Eye-witnesses saw the young thugs carrying Max's (Alotau Hardware) lawn-mower, that they had stolen, into the compound.

Napatana Lodge owners alleged a few weeks back the same group stole a TV, and some towels from Napatana.

Reports to the police go unwritten in the occurrence book.

Armed robbery: Span Enterprises, Salamo, Ferguson Island, late November, large amount of cash stolen, by men from Molima. Salamo villagers attack fleeing robbers with sling-shots, and break the arm of a robber. Police investigate, but robbers run away into the hinterland.


Police emergency numbers in the PNG Telephone Directory 2006, p1. 641 1222/641 1253 do not respond.

1st Armed Robbery: Alotau Enterprises, payroll. Guns used and shots fired.

3rd Armed Robbery: Bayviews Guesthouse :. A large group of young men, late Sunday afternoon, armed with crow-bars, walked in, with threats & menaces, and stole a radio from a vehicle. Bayviews staff ran inside and locked themselves in.

Armed attack: date unknown, by Molima criminals, on villages near Salamo, Ferguson Island, in revenge for the attack on criminals involved in the November robbery of Span Enterprises, Salamo.

13th Armed Robbery: Coecon, South Pacific Timber Exports, Wednesday, early morning payroll.
15th Armed Robbery: Tawali Resort, East Cape, Friday evening at staff member attacked by an escapee from Gulf Province, and local youth, with a knife and a bush knife, and would have been killed had she not fallen in flight. Police were slow to come round (no vehicle, no staff, no fuel, the usual excuses) so manager affected a search and made arrests, had to lock them up himself.
16th Assault: Tourist at Napatana, coming home from the Jetty on Saturday night, attacked by youths at Cameron Bridge. Tourist had a knife, and defended himself.
17th Break & Enter, assault: Napatana staff member, who lives at KB, assaulted by an unknown drunk in her own house. She had a swollen-face. She did not know who he was. She had never seen him before. Alotau has no retail liquor-sales Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday. So where did he get the drink on a Sunday?
18th Armed Robbery 0945, Gloria Warren, Golonai, Kedus, trade-store, armed robbery by Steven Tabogani, an escapee from Giligili. Criminals were armed, and told driver to get out of the car. Driver was about to drive the takings down to the bank. They drove the car towards Ahioma with a youth from Nigila who lives in Garuboi Street. D & D Douglas , Delia's shop on Garuboi Street, had a fight with these youths recently. They terrorize the place.
Police mobile squad elements arrive from Port Moresby to crack-down on crime.
19th Assault (attempt) woman walking from Top-town to Middle-town harassed by man, who ran-off, when vehicle approached.
Human rights violations: unconfirmed reports that PMV passengers bashed by police at road-blocks for "over-loading".
20th Human Rights violation: police, at a road-block, beat-up Mr. Brian Pulasi, MP, the Honourable Member for Kiriwina-Goodenough (source Governor Neville)
24th Police vehicle damaged while on patrol in the hospital area. 2 or 3 persons injured. One person died.

General comments for December 2006:

Police ineffective: Things are pretty bad these days, and the police did very little, until the mobile squad arrived at the end of the month. Road-blocks set-up; increased vehicle patrols over holiday period; some foot-patrols seen in town area. Increase in police human rights violations.
Governor has taken steps to have senior police transferred out of province.
Illegal liquor: Steam/JJ/ home-brew is booming. There are stills at Mutuyewa, There have recently been "steam wars" between KB and Mutuyewa youths.
Street-crime general street crime problem; Cheongs Supermarket workers are frequently attacked in their houses, by the Sanderson Bay squatters.