Published on Friday, September 7, 2018

Tourists robbed at gunpoint at PNG resort

A group of tourists were held up at gunpoint in a brazen armed robbery at an upscale dive resort in Papua New Guinea.

An armed gang held 20 tourists hostage at Tawali Resort in southeast PNG before making off with cash and personal items.

"Sixteen armed men with high-powered rifles came by boat and took all the guests as hostages," a former staff member said.

"They took their wallets, phones, all their things, the cash in the till and anything else they could carry and went off in their boats. Luckily no one was harmed."

According to the unnamed employee the resort has been targeted in the past by an armed gang, although it is unclear if it is the same one.

The resort is located in an isolated spot on a peninsular noted for its excellent diving, making it an easy getaway by boat.

The robbery was confirmed recently by PNG tourism minister Emil Tammur who wants to see urgent measures taken by the government to protect tourist safety.

Speaking to local media he said: "These tourists had a great time capturing magical moments on their cameras and having great personal experiences of the beauty of PNG only to be robbed on the last leg of their journey."

"They have now all returned traumatised and with very bad memories of PNG. Is this the type of country we want to promote to the rest of the world?"

The country has been beset by tribal unrest with many countries issuing travel advisories not to travel to conflict hotspots in Hela and the Southern Province.

However, in general tourists are rarely targeted.

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