Chief Inspector Yapu said despite the State of Emergency (SOE) orders, “people are still transporting bags of betelnut from Wewak and Madang to Manus for sales”.
“So far, my members on COVID-19 operations, including the mobile squad 10, confiscated a total of 103 bags of betelnut, destroyed them, impounded their boats and arrested them for breaching SOE orders.
“We will try to improve our capabilities and capacities with limited resources at our disposal on sea surveillance,” PPC Yapu added.
He further said Manus Governor Charlie Benjamin and Provincial Administrator and Provincial Controller, Oka Nungu, have indicated that they will support them in terms of logistics.
Meantime, the Manus COVID-19 Task Force Response team, including Health, Police, PNGDF, Customs, PNG Immigration and Citizenship Authority, NAQIA and Manus MP and Speaker, Job Pomat, left for the western islands on Saturday, April 11th.
They departed on the PNGDF Patrol boat 02, Dreger, to Aua-Wuvulu and Nigoherm LLG at 7pm.
Chief Inspector Yapu said: “The team will conduct awareness on the COVID-19 pandemic and sea surveillance on foreign yachts, illegal fishing boats and logging ships in the area.
“The people from the area have raised their concerns on foreign yachts coming to their islands in the past and are living in fear due to COVID-19.”