Date – 25 May 2009
Byline – Ilya Gridneff
Origin – Pacific Media Watch
Source – The Age (Melbourne)/AAP, 25/05/09
Copyright – AAP
Status – Unabridged
* Pacific Media Watch Online - check the website for archive and links:
PNG's ANTI-ASIAN RIOTS BLAMED ON 'VICE'
By Ilya Gridneff
PORT MORESBY (The Age/AAP/Pacific Media Watch): Papua New Guinea Prime
Minister Sir Michael Somare blames corruption in the police force and
immigration department for a recent wave of anti-Asian rioting and
Somare said on Monday he was "embarrassed" and "appalled" by "a handful
of hooligans and rascals" who have attacked Asian businesses.
"I am very disappointed by what has happened. Chinese citizens and
businesses have been victimised by our criminals," he told reporters in
Port Moresby on Monday.
"We condemn the criminal actions against the Chinese".
Many traders in PNG feel an influx of "new Chinese" have squeezed them
out of small businesses, denying them the benefits of PNG's sustained
Others complain of working for ruthless Chinese bosses who impose tough
conditions or hire workers who don't comply with immigration
requirements, such as speaking English.
Allegations of increased Chinese-organised crime and corruption,
involving PNG officials, have also added to "grassroots" community
"We know a lot of things are going on," Somare said.
"We know some are saying you give me a six pack (of beer) and I'll give
you a passport.
"It's intolerable. There must be work ethics amongst our civil service.
"Immigration (department), yes we blame immigration," he said.
Alleged corruption in PNG's police force was also a contributing
factor, Somare said.
"They (corrupt officers) will get their marching orders if they are
found not to be fit for police work," he said.
"We need to look at the hierarchy and review the whole police force,"
During a recent week of violence, local media reported PNG police shot
four looters in the Highlands region while in Lae, PNG's second biggest
city, two looters were killed.
The trouble began on May 10 when PNG workers clashed with management at
the Chinese-run Ramu nickel mine in Madang Province, on the northeast
coast, after a worker was injured by a tractor.
In the same week in Port Moresby, an anti-Chinese protest ended in
violence and looting, sparking similar attacks elsewhere over several
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