Milne Bay police boss on rise in crime

The Milne Bay police boss said crime increased in their once peaceful province after the opening of the beche-de-mere season and the escape of a notorious criminal.

Major crimes like sea piracy and armed robbery have been on the rise since.

The infamous Tommy Baker escaped from the Giligili correctional holding cell in 2016 and since then, criminal elements believed to be part of his gang have been terrorising the quiet province of Milne Bay.

“Tommy Baker has connections both within and outside of the province, and he has been constantly doing these things and we know very well his activities cover Oro (Northern) and Morobe Province, and also in NCD and Central Province,” said acting provincial police commander, George Bayagau.

A number of violent armed robberies have rocked the province, including shootouts where both police officers and innocent bystanders were killed.

The latest victim was an 85-year-old woman from Suau, who was inside a house when she was hit by a stray bullet from a gunfight which had lasted for over 30 minutes.

According to police, the December 6th incident erupted after criminals ambushed a police patrol at Garuboi within the precincts of Alotau town.

It is believed this same gang, led by Baker, was responsible for robbing a supermarket in 2016, during which a policeman who attempted to repel them was gunned down in cold blood.

This same gang is also suspected of robbing employees of the Alotau Enterprise, in which a female employee was kidnapped and killed when she was thrown out of a moving vehicle along the East Cape highway in November last year.

Currently, a police mobile unit from Port Moresby is in the province after a November 5th hit-and-run accident by disciplined forces that resulted in two deaths and the shutdown of Alotau.

“They will be with me until next year January,” said acting PPC Bayagau.

(Acting provincial police commander, Chief Inspector George Bayagau)

Carmella Gware