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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center

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Police Interviewing Man Held After PNG Boat Robbery
Public urged to come forward with pertinent information

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Nov. 29, 2012) – Lae police are interviewing a man in relation to Tuesday’s armed robbery aboard passenger ferry MV Geyamsao.

The man, a banana boat operator, was held by Finschhafen police at a government station on Tuesday evening and brought to Lae yesterday for further questioning.

The Lutheran Shipping vessel was travelling from Finschhafen to Lae with about 200 passengers and five crew members when the robbery happened.

It is believed that some of the robbers had boarded the ship, probably at Finschhafen, or along the way at Buki or Maneba wharves.

They stole K8,000 [US$3,817] belonging to Lutheran Shipping, stripped the canteen of its goods and took valuables and cash from passengers. They escaped in banana boats that had followed the ship.

Morobe provincial police commander David Warap said although the man was brought in for questioning, no one had been formally arrested and charged.

He is appealing to passengers and the public in Finschhafen and surrounding areas for information to assist police in their investigations.

"Our investigations are continuing but we will rely on information from the public," he said.

He said the robbers were believed to be from the Finschhafen area, or reside there.

"Criminals are also taking advantage of the peak travelling season for Christmas and I appeal to businesses to tighten security measures," he said.

Warap said the incident showed that sea vessels were also at risk and it was up to boat owners and operators to ensure stringent checks on passengers’ baggage were done.

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