Emeutes anti chinoises à Port Moresby mai 2009


Looters shot dead amid chaos of Papua New Guinea’s anti-Chinese riots


Rowan Callick, Asia-Pacific editor | May 23, 2009

Article from:  The Australian

PAPUA New Guinea is reeling from anti-Chinese riots involving tens of thousands of people, which left four people dead and closed down many of the country’s major towns as Chinese-run stores were looted.

PNG’s parliament has formed a 15-member cross-party team to investigate the riots, including « reviewing the types of businesses operated by Asians, and the causes of resentment by nationals against Asians involved in those businesses ».

The chain of violence and destruction began a fortnight ago, with a fight between Chinese and Papua New Guinean workers at a nickel refinery being built as part of the $1.4 billion Ramu project by Chinese state-owned giant Metallurgical Construction Corporation, its majority owner. Three Chinese workers with serious injuries were evacuated from the site, on the coast south of Madang, to a hospital in Port Moresby. Thirty vehicles were damaged or destroyed and 70 Papua New Guineans were charged with fighting.

A few days later, a protest march was held in Port Moresby to petition the Government to reduce the immigration of Asians – a general term that refers chiefly to people from mainland China and to Malaysians, mainly also ethnic Chinese. Protesters demanded the Government screen citizenship applications more carefully and tighten border security generally.

Noel Anjo, the chairman of a group called NGOs and Civil Society Coalition Partners, said: « We welcome major investors. It is only the foreigners who overcrowd small businesses that we want out, businesses Papua New Guineans are able to run. »

Fast-food outlets known as « tucker boxes » and other small businesses run by Asians were swiftly closed down in Port Moresby and other cities as the protests spread.

Such retail operations have typically provided the main channel for Papua New Guineans to set up in business. But they have been largely taken over in recent years by Asian operators with access to much cheaper products.

The rioting spread first to PNG’s second city, Lae, and then to Madang and through the Highlands, to Kainantu, Goroka, Wabag and Mount Hagen. Prices for basic foodstuffs soared as town stores were closed for twodays.

At least three looters were shot dead during raids on Asian-owned stores last week and this week, while a fourth looter was trampled to death in a stampede.

Malcolm Kela Smith, the Australian Vietnam veteran turned successful businessman who is the Governor of the Eastern Highlands, faced a large crowd in Goroka’s Peace Park and agreed to present their petition to parliament. He said: « I noticed the anger in the faces of our youths, and some undoubtedly had genuine grievances. »

Parliamentarians widely blamed the riots on unemployment, which is running in towns at up to 80 per cent, especially among young people. Former chief justice and Madang Governor Arnold Amet said poverty, fed by unemployment, was leading to « a genuine sense of grievance ».

Acting Prime Minister, Puka Temu, apologised for the attacks, saying: « While our Prime Minister Michael Somare is overseas trying to lure investors to our country, here we have a handful of hooligans and opportunists doing the exact opposite. »


Mr Somare has in the past week been in Japan and last month was in China.

The National newspaper – itself owned by Malaysian timber company Rimbunan Hijau – editorialised: « The overwhelming presence of Asians in most businesses operating in all centres around the country provides an explosive climate for riots.

« There is a perception that corrupt government officials have opened the floodgates for the influx of far too many Asians into PNG, many without the proper credentials. »

Rhona Nadile, the official responsible for work visas, said Chinese workers brought in to the country for the Ramu nickel project were exempted from the legal requirement that foreigners working in PNG had to speak one of the three national languages: English, Pidgin or Motu.

She told the Australia PNG Business Council that « we followed government directives to issue the work permits ».

Chinese-owned businesses attacked across the country


22 mai 2009

Stores and other businesses owned by Chinese nationals and citizens of other Asian countries are attacked, accused of taking jobs from locals. Four people are killed in clashes with police. Beijing calls on NPG authorities to protect its citizens.

Port Moresby (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Dozens of Chinese-owned stores and businesses have been attacked and looted, their windows broken, since riots broke out on 12 May in Papua-New Guinea. Men and teenagers went on a rampage in six cities: Port Moresby, Mount Hagen, Kundiana, Goroka, Madang, Lae and Wabag. The worst incidents were recorded in Lae and Wabag where four rioters were killed.

In the streets of the capital, Port Moresby, a march was organised by demonstrators who wanted to protest the presence of too many Asians, especially Chinese. Foreigners have set up businesses in the country’s main towns and cities and are directly competing with locals in a country with a weak economy where the unemployment rate stands at 80 per cent.

For Peter Ipatas, governor of the central province of Enga, the incidents are due to government policies which have failed to help locals and have favoured foreigners instead.

Opposition leader Mekere Morauta agrees. He told the Post-Courier newspaper that the “government is allowing unskilled foreigners who cannot even speak one word of English taking on the forms of business that only Papua New Guineans should be allowed to own and operate.”

Coupled with accusations of unfair competition anti-Chinese sentiments have been fuelled by allegations that local workers have been forced to work in sub-standard conditions by Chinese state-owned mining companies like Metallurgical Group Corporation (MCC) whose main operation is in Madang province on the northern coast. In one incident on 8 May miners stormed a nickel mine in Basamuk, forcing it to close.

The target “is not so much the Chinese community as Chinese businesses. There is a widespread resentment against Asians doing work that could be done by Papua New Guineans” and which is “reserved by legislation” to them, said Mgr Douglas Young, archbishop of Mount Hagen, in an interview with AsiaNews.

“There is a suspicion that many people come in through corrupt practices. Even the minister accepts that there is corruption in his department. The poor are not usually able to distinguish between the older third generation Chinese families and businesses and new ones; between legal occupations that benefit the country and illegal ones, between Chinese and other Asians,” the prelate said.

Given the situation affecting its nationals in the Oceanic nation, China has acted at the diplomatic level, calling on the PNG government to protect its citizens.

PNG Prime Minister Puka Temu has apologised to China for the attacks against the Chinese community.

On Wednesday the PNG parliament voted to set up a special bi-partisan committee of MPs to look at the past week of street rioting and looting which targeted foreign businesses.

Death toll rises in PNG attacks on Chinese shops

21 mai 2009

SYDNEY (AFP) — Two looters were shot dead as a wave of attacks on Chinese-owned shops spread in Papua New Guinea, bringing the death toll to four, reports said Thursday.

The two men were killed and three others were wounded as a mob tried to raid an Asian-owned store in Wabag, capital of Enga province, in the early hours of Tuesday morning police said.

« The men tried to break in and were met by those guarding the store. There was gunfire, » provincial police commander Michael Chare told the National newspaper.

Fearing reprisals by clansmen of the dead and injured, police patrolled Wabag’s streets, using loudhailers to urge people to disperse and go home before dusk.

« The situation in Wabag is quiet but tense. There are at least eight Asian shops here and they remain closed, » Chare said.

Asian shops in several towns throughout the country have been attacked over the past week, with protesters and looters accusing them of overcharging and demanding they be taken over by locals.

Two men were killed in raids on shops in the town of Lae on the north coast last Thursday, one shot dead and the other trampled to death in a stampede, police have said.

Enga Governor Peter Ipatas expressed regret at the latest loss of life in Wabag but said looting was illegal and blamed the national government for failing to address « underlying problems » in society.

« If foreigners are taking over businesses, that is because the government has failed to protect and promote the interests of its people, » he said.

Beijing has urged leaders of the impoverished island nation to bring the situation under control and safeguard the safety and interests of its citizens.

Papua New Guinea’s acting Prime Minister Puka Temu on Wednesday apologised for the string of attacks on Chinese-owned shops, labelling the perpetrators « hooligans and opportunists ».

Parliament on Wednesday voted to set up a special bi-partisan committee of lawmakers to look into the looting, the Post-Courier newspaper reported.

The first Chinese moved into PNG in the late 19th and early 20th century, but few of their descendants remain, while a fresh wave of thousands of Chinese immigrants has arrived over the past 10 years.

Their rapid move into business, along with Koreans and other Asians, has provoked growing animosity from locals, many descended from warrior tribes which had no contact with the outside world until less than a century ago.


Attempts to control violence against Chinese in PNG.

Wed May 20, 2009

China has demanded that Papua New Guinea ensure the safety of its citizens and companies following a string of attacks on Asian-owned shops.

There are reports that two men have been shot and injured in the Pacific nation’s Western Highlands province, as tear gas and live ammunition has been used to control the looting. It brings the total of shootings related to the looting to four, with two people expected to lose a leg as a result of their injuries.

China says it wants Papua New Guinea to take effective measures to bring the situation under control and safeguard the security and lawful rights and interests of Chinese people. Correspondent Sean Dorney is in Madang, where he’s attended a community meeting involving local landowners, government officials, and the Ramu Mine’s Chinese owners.

Presenter: Campbell Cooney

Speakers: Australia Network’s Pacific editor Sean Dorney; Governor of PNG’s Madang province, Sir Arnold Ahmet

DORNEY: Yes, this is an extremely pertinent meeting in relation to this whole issue, because it’s to do with the Ramu Nickel project, which is the largest investment in base metal exploration and mining by the Chinese outside of China. That Ramu project is under construction at the moment and just recently, there was a safety incident at where they are building the refinery down here on the coast and that led progressively to more and more trouble. Eventually there was rioting there and something like according to the Chinese company millions of US dollars of damage.

This meeting today is by the governor of Madang, Arnold Amet, who did what he’s calling all the stakeholders together to meet with him and with the company, and with officials from government departments in Port Moresby to try and make sure that troubles like this don’t happen again and so it’s not directly related to these raids that have occurred around the country on Chinese trade stores, but it is a very similar situation. And the concern here is that they don’t want this Ramu Nickel project to come to a halt and we’ve been listening to various landowners leaders who – in fact, are not blaming the company so much. Most of the criticism so far has been directed at the PNG National Government. Sir Arnold Ahmet, the governor, wants meetings like this now to be held every fortnight.

COONEY: One of the concerns I see from comments made by Sir Arnold Amet is to ensure the people in the region do get something out of these projects. You spoke to him yesterday. Let’s here a little bit of what he said to you.

AHMET: The benefits of resource developments and businesses continually getting drained out and government and industry not providing the opportunities to bridge that gap remains a catastrophe in the making, a time bomb.

COONEY: That’s the Governor of Madang, Arnold Amet, speaking yesterday to Sean Dorney. Sean Dorney is in Madang and that’s where he joins us from.

Sean, the violence that we are hearing reports of, are we seeing it in Madang where you are at the moment?

DORNEY: About a week or so ago, there was an attack on Chinese trade stores. What I’m told by people here in Madang, that it is not the long term Chinese who have been here for several generations, but it’s more recently arrived Chinese who have set up businesses all over the place, that they are the ones that were target.

Sunday, there were rumours running around that there was going to be further trouble, so first thing Monday morning, the police were out in force and there were roadblocks and things set up to ensure it wasn’t a repetition of the looting that had gone in a few days previously. Nothing did happen. It was all kept under control and where we were at the Devine Wood University, which is where the conference was being held, there was no obvious sign of any trouble.

COONEY: You were there for the Australia-Papua New Guinea Business Forum that was held at the Devine Wood University in Madang. What was the big topic?

DORNEY: The most pertinent session to what we’ve been talking already is one yesterday when the Labour Department and other government departments were talking about issues like work permits and one of the questions asked was about the work permits and the regulations in work permits that did not seem to be applying to people that the Chinese were bringing into work on this Ramu Nickel project. The official who answered that question was quite direct in answering, saying that as a department, they have been told that this is an agreement between the both governments and when they have had issues over work permit matters, that they have been told by the

Deadly anti-Asian violence in PNG



A looter was trampled to death and several others were reportedly wounded by police gunfire after a wave of anti-Asian violence in Papua New Guinea that prompted China to voice official concern.

The trouble started in the capital Port Moresby on May 13 when an anti-Chinese march attended by 100 people ended in violence and looting. Banks, shops and other businesses run by ethnic Chinese and others of Asian origin were targeted in towns around this impoverished South Pacific island nation.

Police spokesman Superintendent Dominic Kakas today said that one looter was trampled to death by a charging crowd in the country’s second largest city, Lae.

Four men have been shot since the weekend as police attempted to curb looting but none have died from their wounds, the Post-Courier newspaper reported today.

Many locals blame an influx of Chinese immigrants in recent years for squeezing them out of small-scale business. Some complain that ethnic-Chinese business people are tough bosses.

Allegations of a rise in Chinese organised crime and corruption involving Papua New Guinea officials have also added to community anger.

« We are appealing to the people to respect life and property, » Kakas told The Associated Press. « If they have grievances, there are appropriate channels in which they can take their grievances. »

Kakas said he could not confirm that four people were wounded by police gunfire.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said in Beijing on Tuesday that his government had asked the Papua New Guinea government to protect Chinese citizens and their business interests.

« The Chinese government attaches great importance to the safety of the Chinese citizens in the PNG, » Ma said.

Papua New Guinea opposition leader Mekere Morauta said in a statement looters were responding to « a feeling of anxiety and frustration » because their concerns were being ignored by the government.

PNG riots hit Chinese businesses

18 mai 2009

By Phil Mercer

BBC News, Sydney Asian-owned firms have been looted in Papua New Guinea‘s two largest cities, amid simmering anti-Chinese sentiment.

Chinese-owned shops and offices were looted by gangs in the capital, Port Moresby, and the coastal city of Lae.

The cause of the disturbances is unclear, but hostility towards Chinese immigrants has been intensifying.

Community leaders predict an exodus of Chinese entrepreneurs, who own many businesses in the bigger cities, where unemployment has reached up to 80%.

Teams of police officers and private security guards have failed to stop the widespread looting.

In Lae, witnesses said that hundreds of men and boys had run amok and that much of the coastal city had been brought to a standstill.

In recent days, a man was reportedly stabbed to death as he tried to break into a shop.

Earlier this month, the building of a nickel mine was stopped after a fight over an industrial accident between Papua New Guinean and Asian workers.

Many settlers arrived in Papua New Guinea from China during World War II and there have been subsequent waves of migration.

There are fears the violence will force many to leave the South Pacific country, which would invariably heap further damage on an impoverished economy.

Expatriate Chinese also fled neighbouring Solomon Islands in large numbers after racially-charged disturbances in 2006.

One dead in anti-Chinese riots in PNG – media


SYDNEY, May 15 (Reuters) – Looters ransacked Chinese-owned businesses in Papua New Guinea‘s second-largest city of Lae during riots in which one young man was reportedly hacked to death, PNG media reported on Friday.

Thousands of men and boys stormed Chinese shops in the main business district of Lae on Thursday, bringing the entire city to a standstill and catching police off guard, reports said.

The National newspaper reported that police did not know the cause of the riot, although anti-Chinese sentiment has been growing among indigenous Papua New Guineans. Chinese immigrants own many small businesses in Lae and the capital Port Moresby.

The National newspaper said one Chinese shop in Lae was attacked by a gang of youths angry he was operating there and demanding businesses be restricted to Papua New Guineans.

A young man in another group was chopped to death and another hospitalised after trying to break into another Chinese-owned shop, it said. It was unclear from the report if the dead person was Chinese or Papua New Guinean.

The Post-Courier newspaper said a man was shot in the leg by police while trying to steal from another shop.

Local authorities could not be reached for comment.

Last week, construction of a nickel mine and processing plant was stopped after a fight between about 70 Papua New Guinean and Chinese workers.

Looting, attacks target Chinese in PNG


Ilya Gridneff

May 15, 2009

Chinese nationals in Papua New Guinea have been subjected to attacks and protests for a third straight day, leading police to use tear gas against rioters.

Chinese-owned stores were ransacked in the capital Port Moresby on Wednesday and then in PNG’s second largest city, Lae, on Thursday.

Police intervened on Friday morning in another anti-Chinese protest in Port Moresby, using tear gas to disperse a riot in a popular market directed at Chinese businesses, an eyewitness told AAP.

Chinese nationals and businesses in Port Moresby have beefed up security, some hiring off-duty police as guards, while many have shut their shops as advised by their embassy.

The trouble in the capital when an anti-Chinese march attended by 100 people ended in violence and looting.

Port Moresby police chief Fred Yakasa, who has been criticised for allowing the protest to go ahead, blamed the violence on hooligans.

« It was just hooligans taking advantage of the situation with an emotional build-up, » he said.

« There is nothing to worry about, as we will continue our patrols and increase presence on the streets. »

In Lae, on the northwest coast, hundreds of men attacked Chinese nationals and their small businesses across the city on Thursday.

There were unconfirmed reports of one death and serious injuries to several looters.

In PNG’s The National newspaper, unnamed youths involved in the Lae attacks complained Asian small-business owners were « ripping us off ».

« Who is allowing these Asians to come into our country and own small businesses which should be owned by Papua New Guineans?

« They are ripping us off and investing their money in their country, » they said.

Earlier in the week, PNG workers clashed with management at the Chinese-run Ramu nickel mine in Madang Province, on the northeast coast, after a tractor injured a worker.

PNG’s Chinese community began with immigration in the late 19th century, but local resentment has grown as an influx of « new Chinese » have slowly taken over small businesses like trade stores and food shops in the past 15 years.

Many in PNG feel squeezed out and complain about working for ruthless Chinese bosses who impose tough conditions.

Allegations of a rise in Chinese organised crime and corruption involving PNG officials has also added to community anger.

It is estimated the Chinese population in PNG now outnumbers Australians by more than two to one.

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~ par Alain Bertho sur 17 mai 2009.

Une Réponse to “Emeutes anti chinoises à Port Moresby mai 2009”

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