Personnel from a security firm in Port Moresby standing guard at the Jackson Airport domestic entrance soon after a passenger was shot and bled to death yesterday as he was about to board for New Ireland, on his way to Simberi to buy gold. Suspects made off with the victim’s bag allegedly containing more than K500,000. Two suspects have been arrested as police investigations continue.-Nationapic by AURI EVA in The National
A PASSENGER bled to death at Port Moresby’s Jackson Airport domestic terminal yesterday morning after he was shot in the waist and robbed of more than half a million kina, The National reports.
Witnesses said the passenger, believed to be gold buyer, lay wounded in a pool of blood inside the domestic terminal second security check area for a long time before an ambulance arrived to rush him to the hospital.
“Why call the ambulance? Where were the airport medical centre staff who should have attended to his wounds on the spot and then rush him to hospital?” an irate regular traveller said at the scene.
Jackson Airport managers, National Airports Corporation, released a brief media statement about the killing but did not say how firearms were smuggled through the outside security check-point. The metal detector there should have picked up the gun, or guns, then.
According to police, the victim was pronounced dead on arrival at Port Moresby General Hospital.
The hospital confirmed that the man died from heavy loss of blood.
Relatives of the dead man, believed to be from the Highlands, went to the hospital during the day and removed the body.
This is the first major armed robbery of a passenger inside PNG’s largest airport where a victim has been shot and killed.
NCD police chief of operations Supt Andy Bawa said yesterday two people, who had driven the gold buyer to the airport, have been arrested and are being questioned.
Police are still hunting for two more, one of whom who may have pulled the trigger.
Bawa said the Port Moresby-based gold-buying employee was carrying K530,000 in cash and was due to fly to the gold-mining island of Simberi in New Ireland when he was attacked, probably by two people who had escorted him to the airport.
He was shot in the waist as he struggled with his assailants who were trying to snatch his travelling bags.
“We have not yet recovered the money but my men are out in full force to capture the suspects,” he said.
Bawa appealed to intending passengers and members of the public, who were at the scene of the crime, to come forward with information.
National Airports Corp managing director Joseph Kintau confirmed in a statement that “a man was shot by criminals and died on the way to the hospital”.
“It is understood the criminals were after bags containing significant amounts of money and, in the struggle, they shot the man.”
Kintau said it was now a police matter and investigations had started.
“Extra security measures are being taken and the public airport premises will be subject to additional checks and screening.”
According to several witnesses, five armed men were seen rushing from the scene of the shooting.
Everything happened so fast that it was hard to tell what really happened, but two men appeared to grab bags from the man and fled through the exit sliding doors to a waiting white Nissan Sunny motor vehicle which sped off.