11 Sep 2013

PNG PM considers tourist police following attack on trekking group

8:46 pm on 11 September 2013

Papua New Guinea's Prime Minister has signalled that legislation to create tourist police could be introduced following a deadly attack on a tourist group.

Peter O'Neill was speaking in parliament about an attack on a group of trekkers in Morobe Province which left two local porters dead and several trekkers sustaining knife wounds.

The injured trekkers included several Australians and a New Zealander.

Mr O'Neill says PNG could adopt the kind of arrangement seen in Bali where special police guard tourist areas and assist tourists in need of emergency help.

He suggests trekking groups could be accompanied by police personnel.

The Prime Minister, who linked the attack to alcohol and drug abuse, has told local media that those behind the attack would be considered for the death penalty which was recently re-activated in PNG.

Meanwhile, the police commissioner, Toami Kulunga, says the bodies of the dead porters and the wounded have been moved to Lae with the help of the police's Eye in the Sky helicopter, and officers are searching for the people involved in the attack.

He says the attack is shocking and unthinkable on a popular route that has not seen similar criminality in the past.

The commissioner has assured the relatives of the dead men and those wounded that police will catch the offenders and that they will face the full brunt of the law.