Special police team sent to hunt down PNG escapee

5:00 pm on 28 January 2019

A special police team has been dispatched to hunt down Papua New Guinea's notorious escaped prisoner Tommy Baker.

Tommy Baker

Tommy Baker Photo: Facebook / The Notorious PNG

Baker has been linked to a series of robberies and incidents of violent unrest in the Milne Bay capital Alotau.

Alotau remains in lockdown after more deadly unrest in the town last week.

The burning of houses in the local police barracks, which left two people dead, prompted another police pursuit of the criminal gang, resulting in a shootout which left aonther person dead.

Baker has been at large for months after escaping prison in PNG's capital Port Moresby.

Prime Minister Peter O'Neill told parliament that the fact that Baker had escaped prison three times was not acceptable

Describing Baker and his cohorts as terrorists, Mr O'Neill said he had ordered that the escapee be hunted down immediately.

Meanwhile, a 40-men team from the Police Air Tactical Unit flew into Alotau this morning to recapture Baker, and maintain law and order.

PNG's Deputy Commissioner of Police and Chief of Operations Jim Andrews said they will be followed later by an investigative team of detectives and forensic officers from Port Moresby.

The Milne Bay Provincial Police Commander Chief Inspector George Bayagau, who was nearly shot during last week's shootout, said business houses have opened but have been told to be on high alert.

Police have again urged the public to co-operate with having Tommy Baker and his gang captured.

However, elements of the Alotau public appear to support Baker amid public disaffection with police since a fatal accident involving a police vehicle left a young mother and her child dead in Alotau last November.

Subsequently, attacks on police have intensified in Alotau, culminating in last week's shooutout in which police were reported to be outnumbered and out-gunned.

At the weekend, the Alotau MP Charles Abel has visited the local police barracks where eight houses were torched in last week's unrest.

A woman and her child were killed when the barracks was attacked.

Mr Abel also met with the widow of a provincial legal officer who was killed in the violence in Alotau last week.

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