Terrible news out of PNG today...
An Australian woman on a surfing holiday in Papua New Guinea has been raped during a violent carjacking.
The woman was with three Australian Youth Ambassadors for Development volunteers when they were held up and robbed at gunpoint on Saturday on Madang Province's North Coast Road, in PNG's northwest.
The four were carjacked, robbed of all possessions and taken to a secluded spot where they were bound to trees and the young woman, the girlfriend of one of the volunteers, was raped, PNG's National newspaper reported.
Three suspects have been apprehended and are in police custody, the report said.
A spokesman for the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said the victims had all left the country after the "appalling" attack.
"Full consular assistance has been and continues to be provided by AusAID and the Australian High Commission in Port Moresby.
"All four have left PNG.
"In light of this incident, AusAID is reviewing security arrangements for Youth Ambassadors in PNG and elsewhere," he said.
Youth Ambassadors are 18- to 30-year-old skilled volunteers deployed in Asia, the Pacific and Africa under a development program run by the Australian government's aid agency, AusAID.
Earlier this year in Port Moresby, a busload of Australian Volunteer International members were held up during a visit to Parliament House.
PNG's capital Port Moresby, with its serious law and order issues, was this year ranked among the world's five worst cities to live in by The Economist magazine.
Madang is a popular PNG tourist location and hub for NGOs and aid workers, and is considered far less dangerous than Port Moresby.
But Madang's increasing population and growing problems with illegal settlers have seen a steady rise in violent crime.
Last December a popular expatriate woman in her 70s, who has lived most of her life in Madang, was robbed and raped in her home.
The National also reported on Tuesday that armed Madang locals attacked PNG's Agricultural Minister John Hickey and his wife travelling on the North Coast Road.
In an unrelated attack, 146 houses in a settlement outside Madang town were burnt during ethnic fighting linked to a previous armed hold-up of a public bus, the paper said.
Just had a conversation with Jamie from The Perfect Wave about surf travel in PNG. All of the surf camps, according to Jamie, are on the outer islands in the Kavieng, New Hanover area, a long way from where the attack happened in Madang.
The north coast of the mainland is reputed to have some surf though it's without facilities and there are many social issues (ethnic disputes etc) that mean travel on the north coast is best done with caution.
Of secondary concern, but certainly important, is the forum page on this website, which in the 'wax off' section now says;
"Australian woman raped in PNG by Stunet."
Stu, what have you been up to?
Worse still, it now reads
"Australian surfer raped in PNG by Batfink and Karate."
Damn. It wasn't me, I tell ya.
Hmmm...no wonder no-one wants to comment. It's a truly horrible business.
feel for all involved in P N G.
A reader sent me a story about his recent experiences in PNG which I've just posted on the site: www.swellnet.com.au/news/973-a-helping-hand-for-neighbours-finding-their...
Firstly, I've never been to PNG, so I'm only going off what I've read and been told by those who have.
Interesting article (Nov29) Stu and I think it touches on the conflict in PNG. You have a nation that only until very very recently was essentially a place full of hundreds of different tribes, all vying for resources just in order to eke out a living. Now with independence, and the big money flowing in and out (but mostly out) due to mining, it seems the tribal mentality of 'he has such and such, so I want and will take by force if I have to' still reigns. Mix this approach to life in with western goods such as grog, money, a corrupt government and other material possessions and you get a post-colonial situation much akin to the situation in many African nations. (
In no way am I attacking the intelligence of PNG's indigenous inhabitants, I'm only trying to mention that the situation arises from their tradition/tribal (i.e. uncivil in a modern context). And this approach extends from the Western Highlands to government officials. It's that whole square peg in a round whole thing.
Indeed this is a terrible story however I honestly think this is a situation out of the ordinary. I've been to PNG 4 times for surf trips - twice to Kavieng and twice to New Hanover. In all those trips not once did I feel threatened or intimidated by the locals - far from it - they were some of the nicest and most welcoming people you could ever hope to meet. While it's good to keep abreast of stories like this you shouldn't let it stop you from going there for a surf trip. It truly is the final frontier when it comes to surfing.
Nice one Maddog. All facts seem to suggest that this event was out of the ordinary. Let's hope so...
You heard of wantak? PNG pidgin for 'one talk' and it means anyone from your village. It ain't just a word though, wantak is a social system whereby people are obligated to help anyone in their village and to share with them. What you have, they have. The wantak system runs very deep in PNG and highlights the compatibility issue between traditional PNG customs and Western life
Quick story: a family friend moved up to Port Moresby in 1990 to open a branch of the Commonwealth Bank. He moved up there and spent a few months hiring and training local staff. One fellow, who was well educated and seemingly qualified, was hired as assistant manager and placed in charge of day-to-day operations.
Less than a week after opening, said family friend arrived at work to find all the money in the bank was gone. Overnight people from his managers village had arrived in town and gone to the bank. They wanted the money. Surprisingly, not least to my friend, his manager gave it all to them. He wasn't coerced or threatened but the obligation of wantak was stronger than his understanding of how to run a bank.
ahhh, I've never heard of that. A lot of other indigenous cultures have something similar. However I was more referring to what occurs between the various tribes. I understand it's more detrimental to PNG if everybody perceives it as a dangerous place and doesn't go there, however in my own personal experience, for every happy story I hear about it I hear an equal number of unhappy stories. When I say happy and unhappy I'm not talking about pumping surf vs. shitty resort, I'm talking about fun times vs. carjacking, assault etc. Having said that, these stories do seem to be contextual, the happy ones coming from trips such as the writer above undertook, the unhappy ones coming from those there on private or government business....maybe there's a trend? I dunno, maybe I'm just being a worrying ninny, but I think not enough emphasis is being put on how dangerous, certain parts, of PNG are...although I guess stories like the AusAID one do that anyway....ok I'll stop ranting now.
Yeah, I guess I just relayed that story cos it shows how hard it is to adapt from traditional customs, that have served their society well for thousands of years, to suddenly have Western notions of economy and politics placed upon them. There's always going to be problems. Some critical, some not so critical.
Plus, I just like retelling that story...
reading this is just 1 more example of how fucked our purposely(!) segregated western way of life is. id love to rant on longer. but please people give it a chance. reflect on all the issues we have. after of course being happy with YOUR life. we CAN do better!