30 Apr 2004

Armed men hold up Australian couple in PNG

10:46 am on 30 April 2004

A group of armed men have attacked an Australian couple on their yacht in the Papua New Guinea town of Rabaul.

Officials say five men armed with shotguns approached the yacht in two canoes, before attacking them at about 9pm on Tuesday night.

Bruce Alexander, who's president of the East New Britain Chamber of Commerce, says the men overpowered the couple pretty quickly, bound them and held shotguns to the backs of their heads.

Mr Alexander says police have a number of leads, and the Rabaul Yacht Club had offered a US$180 dollar reward for information that could lead to the arrest of the attackers.

The couple, who were aged in their 50s, had just completed a sailing trip around the Solomon Islands.

He said tourism was starting to pick up in Rabaul, but acts like this would discourage visitors.