1 Sep 2010

PNG police overcome large number of looters following Lae shop fire

6:18 pm on 1 September 2010

Police in Papua New Guinea's second biggest city, Lae, were outnumbered by many hundreds of looters following a fire in a popular shopping district earlier this week.

Our correspondent in Lae witnessed the looting, which he says occurred in two general stores down the road from the shop that burnt down.

Oseah Philemon says the looters took anything they could get their hands on, from food, clothing and electrical items to sanitary napkins.

"Although we had police there they were actually outnumbered. And the police were actually restrained in not firing bullets or anything. They fired several rounds of tear gas to disperse people. But I think under the circunstances police did a great job in deterring more looting of other shops."

Oseah Philemon says the cause of the fire has not been determined but it's not thought to be suspicious.