PORT MORESBY: Papua New Guinea’s beleaguered police force asked the public for help tracking down a “notorious” pirate Thursday, as they tried to end a spate of offshore and onshore robberies.
Police Commissioner Gari Baki said officers in the east of the country were struggling to apprehend the chief suspect – a prison escapee and alleged pirate named Tommy Baker – because their last patrol boat broke down six years ago.
Baker was said to have escaped from Port Moresby General Hospital last October while receiving medical treatment.
Police said a mobile squad was being deployed to the town of Alotau to assist the local police fight a deadly crime spree.
The Post Courier newspaper reported that seven police houses were burned to the ground in the town and several policemen were wounded in a shootout with Baker’s gang.
A supermarket was also reportedly raided and an ATM stolen.
“A lot of police work went into his initial capture but he simply walked out of prison so we have to now spend a lot of money to get him back in again,“ Baki said in a statement.
He said sea piracy was on the rise in Alotau “due to the fact the police does not have the ability to deal with it… The only police boat in Alotau broke down six years ago.” — AFP