Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Sir George dead

Senior businessman murdered at Gerehu

ONE of PNG’s leading businessmen, Sir George Constantinou, was murdered by criminals in Port Moresby yesterday, The National newspaper reports.

The 78-year-old tycoon was killed along Nigibata Road in Gerehu, next to the Tete settlement, as he was leaving his timber yard.

News of the killing spread like wildfire, evoking shock and condemnation from leading citizens, including Sir George’s long-time contemporary, Sir Brian Bell.

Police said Sir George had driven out of his timber yard at Gerehu and was approaching the Tete settlement turn-off when a large group of men armed with home-made guns, knives and stones blocked the road.

He tried to avoid them in his Landcruiser station wagon, but the criminals stoned his vehicle and shot at his tyres.

Sir George lost control and ditched the vehicle on the side of the road, when the raskols set upon him.

Metropolitan police commander Supt Fred Yakasa said Sir George was hit in the head apparently with a stone or a hard object.

He was taken to the Gerehu clinic and later rushed by ambulance to the Pacific International Hospital (PIH), but was pronounced dead on arrival.

Supt Yakasa said Sir George was attacked between 2pm and 3pm yesterday.

It is understood that one person, an employee of Sir George, was with him at the time of the attack. It is not known if he sustained any injuries.

An eyewitness said the criminals shot the tyres of his vehicle, and when it stopped, they quickly stoned him.

The killing of Sir George, a Greek who became a PNG citizen, has shocked and outraged residents in the capital.

Supt Yakasa has given the Tete community a 24-hour ultimatum to hand over the criminals involved in the killing.

“There’s lot of killings, road blocks, kidnappings, car thefts in that area and we are left with little option but to clean out the place,” he told The National last night.

Sir George was born on May 11, 1930. He was educated in Cyprus before he came to PNG in the 1950s.

He owned several businesses including Airways Hotels and Apartments, Lamana Hotel, Hebou Constructions (PNG) Limited, Rouna Quarries Ltd, NTS Timber among others in Port Moresby and around the country.

His latest project was the building of the Heritage Park Hotel in Honiara, Solomon Islands.

The area where he was murdered has a long history of violent crime.

Following a spate of killings, Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare had warned in Nov 2003 that if the lawlessness continued, the Government would be forced to repatriate settlers there to their home provinces.

Sir Michael’s warning followed the killing of 10 people in an ethic clash between Taris of Southern Highlands and Goilalas from Central province.

A week later a Gulf man was killed and his body burnt when he tried to protect his family from a mob of rampaging youths. His wife and daughter were

also gang-raped.


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