By Theckla Gunga – EM TV, Port Moresby
Five female vendors in Port Moresby say they were sexually assaulted by over ten police officers, believed to be intoxicated by alcohol, yesterday.
They said, these police officers picked them up in a police bus and sexually harassed them from Four Mile to Dogura, behind Seven Mile and then back to the Gordon’s Police Barracks.
These women vendors are amongst other vendors that sell cooked food such as boiled eggs, biscuits and can drinks in front of the Pacific International Hospital at Four Mile.
They said police officers rounded them up at 2pm yesterday and forced them into a police vehicle saying they were illegal vendors and would be fined for selling in public areas.
However, the women were not taken to the nearest police station in Boroko, but instead, the women said that they were driven past the station, and onto Six Mile and then to Dogura.
It was there were they were allegedly sexually harassed by policemen in uniform.
One of the victim’s, Betty Simo said that the police officers were verbally abusive, using obscene language against the females.
According to the victim, they were told to “spread their legs” and “surrender their belongings so the policemen would do thorough checks on them.”
The victims, when relating their ordeal to EMTV News described the conduct of the police officers involved as illegal and are afraid of reporting the matter to police.
When EMTV News contacted the police, it was confirmed that no official complaint was laid by these vendors.
They said almost five hundred Kina was removed from them by the police, including phones and other personal items.
The plate number of the police bus used was revealed to EMTV News.
It was also found that the bus involved was registered to the Foot Beat Patrol Unit and those officers involved are also members of the unit.
The vendors were held for two hours before they were released from the Gordon’s Barracks at 4pm yesterday.