13 Sep 2010

More anti-Asian attacks in PNG Highlands

1:28 pm on 13 September 2010

There have been continued attacks on Asian-owned businesses in Papua New Guinea's Highlands.

The Post Courier newspaper reports that hundreds of youths went on a violent looting spree in Kainantu in Eastern Highland Province on Friday and Saturday.

The reports say the attacks have forced shop owners to flee town.

Extra police were deployed to the area while police on Friday had to provide an escort to fleeing shop owners who sought refuge in nearby Goroka.

The anti-Asian sentiment is tied to a perception that systemic corruption and inequality are being fuelled by unscrupulous foreign business owners.

Last year, anti-Asian violence and looting spread across the country after a series of public demonstrations called for a clampdown on illegal immigrants and government corruption.

Meanwhile the prime minister, Sir Michael Somare, has reaffirmed PNG's strong ties with Malaysia.

On Saturday, Sir Michael received a red carpet welcome in China's capital Beijing, where he is to discuss increasing investment and trade relations.