By Bethanie Harriman – EM TV, Lae
Illegal fireworks are being sold and distributed on the streets of Lae City even though authorities have issued warnings against the illegal sale of fireworks.
As the New Year arrives, the Lae police stance to contain illegal fireworks has had minimal impact.
Lae’s Metropolitan Superintendent, Iven Lakatani, issued stern warnings today against the sale and distribution of fireworks.
Fireworks were widely used during Christmas celebrations; and while it may seem a small problem for the festive season only, the implications are severe.
The sale and distribution of the illegal item has brought to attention how easy it is to smuggle illicit items, such as guns and hard drugs into Papua New Guinea.
Lae has become the transit point for illegal fireworks that have already reached Goroka and other parts of the Highlands region.
A boy from a residential area in Eriku showed us his eight-round fireworks that his uncle had bought for him, for 20 kina.
Another man held two, which he bought from distributors at the bus stop as he waited for the bus.
While the police continue to warn the public against the sale, distribution and sale of illegal fireworks, the items have become popular during the festive season and a ‘seasonal want’ and profit maker for those selling the illegal fireworks.
In August, more than 400 boxes of illegal firecrackers were destroyed by police and customs officers in Lae. The firecrackers were imported by a Chinese distributor without legitimate documents.