Provincial police commander, Senior Inspector David Yapu, said the police have conducted awareness for the asylum seekers to respect the locals and the laws of PNG.
“But it seems to have fallen on deaf ears and social problems is now an issue with local police and the asylum seekers.”
PPC Yapu said 39 cases were reported to police last year involving asylum seekers and refugees. Such cases as consumption of homebrew and drugs, possession of pornographic materials, drunk and disorderly behaviour in public places, resisting police arrest, damaging properties and sexual touching and assault.
“The court has convicted those found guilty in a form of fine, others were cautioned and discharged. But some cases were struck out because of lack of evidence.”
PPC Yapu said the police have no control over the movements of the asylum seekers after the Supreme Court ruled that the Refugee Centre is illegal, unlawful and unconstitutional.
“Given that freedom, the asylum seekers have gone beyond the town boundaries into villages and outer islands. I am concerned about their safety and the consequences that may arise if the asylum seekers are assaulted, injured or killed.”
The PNG Immigration officers are responsible for the movements of the asylum seekers, but they are currently understaffed, stated the PPC.
“The general feeling among the public is the movement of refugees, especially at night, is unsafe and they should be back in camp by 6pm.”