30 Dec 2010

PNG police shoot suspected pirates

8:21 am on 30 December 2010

Investigations are underway in Papua New Guinea after police shot dead three men and injured two others thought to have been involved in piracy.

A number of villagers travelling by dinghy and other small boats in Milne Bay province had made complaints about being held up and robbed.

Police spokesman, Dominic Kakas, says the officers were on routine marine patrol in an unmarked boat when a group, thought to be the thieves, tried to rob them.

Mr Kakas says it's unclear at this stage how the shooting started .

But he says illegal firearms are a considerable problem in PNG:

"We have a high build up of firearms, I'm talking about factory made firearms, automatic firearms and so on, there's a lot of them in the hands of the civillians and that is a big cause for concern. A number of them were actaully firearms that were stolen from police or from the disciplined forces, the defence or correctional services."

Mr Kakas says the two injured men were treated at hospital and discharged.

They are now in police custody