by Fabian Hakalits – EM TV News, Port Moresby
Police in Wewak, East Sepik Province, are disappointed with authorities for the manner in which 15 Vietnamese men were handled for illegal entry into PNG waters.
The 15 Vietnamese men were in a boat, and were believed to be asylum seekers, anchored at Wewak earlier this month.
It was established that there was a sick man on board, so the boat had to anchor in Wewak.
There was a communication problem so it was very difficult to correspond with them, as they were unable to speak English.
However, after a check by police and customs, the Vietnamese nationals did not have valid documents.
Officials told EMTV News in Wewak that they couldn’t arrest and lay charges because immigration officials transferred the case to Port Moresby.
They said this case occurred within their jurisdiction and procedures for arrests and charges should be made in Wewak first.
They have called for proper understanding of processes by organisations involved in such cases in future.
The Provincial Police Commander was in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville and was not reached for comments.