21 Feb 2005

PNG police discuss mafia link allegations

1:44 pm on 21 February 2005

Top-level police officials in Papua New Guinea are meeting to discuss claims that 16 senior police officers have links with Chinese mafia groups.

It is understood officials are formulating a response to the allegations.

The Age newspaper quotes Australian authorities as saying PNG police are so compromised that the country could be used as a staging post to traffic people into Australia.

A confidential PNG government report obtained by the Australian paper says senior officers, from inspectors to commissioners, are involved with Asian criminals implicated in people-smuggling, money-laundering and other serious crimes.

The country's police minister, Bire Kimisopa, has refused to discuss details of the report but acknowledged that the country faces an organised crime crisis that implicates senior members of the police.