5 Apr 2024

French Pacific news in brief

10:52 am on 5 April 2024
French Polynesia’s Gendarmes have carried out a major operation against drug traffic from 15 to 24 March 2024.

French Polynesia’s Gendarmes have carried out a major operation against drug traffic from 15 to 24 March 2024. Photo: French High Commission in French Polynesia

French Polynesia crackdowns on cyber crime

French Polynesia's police have stepped up crackdowns on cybercrime ahead of this year's hosting of the Paris Olympics surfing at Teahupo'o.

As part of a French-wide operation codenamed "Place Nette" (Clear the Space), police in Tahiti have earlier this month intensified their raids, in real life and online.

The main objective of the operation was to "harass" drug dealers ahead of the Olympics.

The operation resulted in the arrest of some 15 individuals and the destruction of 169 cannabis plants.

Four Facebook pages dedicated to the online sale of cannabis were also closed down.

"This proves that drug trading places are moving away from the streets to the Internet," French Polynesia's Gendarmerie commander, Colonel Grégoire Demezon, told local media.

Heavy road fatalities in French Polynesia.

Heavy road fatalities in French Polynesia. Photo: TNTV

French Polynesia's roads toll

Thirty-four people have died on French Polynesia's roads in 2023, statistics revealed this week.

The number of fatalities showed a slight reduction compared to 2022, but was still three times higher, in proportion, to mainland France's figures, the French High Commission said.

The main causes of those fatal crashes were driving under the influence of alcohol and illicit drugs, as well as driving without a licence, the same sources said.

For 2023, some 186 persons have been injured at various levels of seriousness as a result of road crashes.

A wave power generator - Photo Azura wave power

A wave power generator - Photo Azura wave power Photo: Azura Wave Power

Wave energy generators

Two foreign companies have signed with French Polynesia's government to install two power wave generators as a pilot scheme.

The companies, Azura Wave Power and Calwave, have embarked in a worldwide advocacy campaign to demonstrate that these new technologies can use the power of waves to reliably produce electricity.

The signing also comes under the framework of the University of French Polynesia (UPF).

In 2021, UPF launched a new research scheme (Tahiti Wave Energy Challenge or TWEC), dedicated to renewable energies.

The locations for the two devices remain to be identified.

"Poutine welcome to Kanaky" banner during CCAT demonstration.

"Poutine welcome to Kanaky" banner during CCAT demonstration. Photo: LinkedIn

Pro-Russian messages

Pro-Russian messages seen on pro-independence banners during recent marches in downtown Nouméa have puzzled observers in New Caledonia.

Cameron Diver, a former deputy Director-General of Nouméa-based SPC (Pacific Community), now chief of staff at New Caledonia's Southern Province for Loyalistes (pro-France) party leader Sonia Backès, is invoking "geopolitical stakes worldwide and in the Pacific region".

He said he is "alarmed to see banners at recent pro-independence protests in Nouméa welcoming Vladimir Putin to New Caledonia and calling on his support".

In a post headlined "#Russia's influence at play in French Pacific Territories?', he further described the banners as "yet another example of the global nature of strategies of destabilisation and interference".

During those recent protests, organised by the CCAT (close to pro-independence Union Calédonienne and consisting of non-FLNKS pro-independence parties and trade unions), the flags of Papua New Guinea and the French island of Corsica, which itself has a FLNC - for Corsica National Liberation Front, also made regular appearances.

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