Baki had many choices other than mercenaries for APEC security
Is Laurence Security in PNG for APEC or for oil & gas?

Peter Halliman and the ‘cannibal’ fund-raising tour of 1991


IN September 1991, while visiting the United States, I refused to meet Pastor Peter Halliman in Cleveland, Ohio, after a damaging article appeared in a major American newspaper.

He was with Ekere Embago, an illiterate pastor from Koroba in the Southern Highlands, and they were speaking to church congregations from the east to the west coasts appealing for funds to do more missionary work in the jungles of Papua New Guinea which, they claimed, were still inhabited by missionary eating cannibal tribes.

They appeared to be very successful in using the media, calling press conferences in major cities and towns to draw attention to their cause.

Many years on, I wonder if Halliman was a soldier or a pastor. Or if he left missionary work to establish the Lawrence Aviation and Security Group, the employer of the six mercenaries who over the last few days have caused so much consternation in Port Moresby.

According to Papua New Guinea’s police commissioner Gari Baki, Halliman’s firm LAS is an American based company that offers high-end security solutions to global customers, including the United States government. It is staffed by former American military and police personnel.

“I was approached by the president of the company, Mr Peter Halliman, around July last year. He was offering his company’s services to the RPNGC,” Baki said.

“Mr Halliman is an American citizen but he was born in Bulolo in 1961 and grew up in the Lake Kopiago-Koroba area of the Hela Province. His parents were Baptist missionaries.

“As the commissioner of police and commander of the APEC 2018 joint task force, I have been concerned at our response capability should we be faced with serious security threats such as a hostage situation for instance.

“I invited Laurence Aviation and Security Group to come to PNG in February this year to do a presentation for the senior police hierarchy on what they can offer to the RPNGC in terms of training.”

Back on 14 September 1991, I had refused to meet Pastor Peter Halliman in Cleveland because I did not like an article concerning cannibalism he had published in the local newspaper.

I felt his story damaged PNG’s reputation as a tourist destination and I felt personally hurt because I was an Alfred Friendly Press Fellow on attachment to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the newspaper that had published the story.

Did my fellow journalists see me as a cannibal, I wondered.

The other night, 26 years later, I saw his face on EMTV news as principal of Lawrence Aviation and Security Group.

Halliman baptises a congregation memberThis was the same Pastor Peter Halliman who had told a press conference in Cleveland that Papua New Guineans still practised cannibalism - and that he had visited cannibalistic tribes on several occasions in the hope of converting them to Christianity.

At that time, he was quoted as saying: “They say human meat is better tasting than any other. Mostly they kill their enemies and eat them. They use skulls to decorate their houses. Other tribes are careful about going to their areas.”

Two months before that article, I had read another shocking Halliman story in Weekly World News. It was about a brave missionary and his family of four who had been eaten alive by “wild eyed Tuarie tribesman as soon as they arrived at the tribal camp in the steamy jungles of New Guinea.”

I just couldn’t believe that an honest missionary could tell the American public that Papua New Guineans were still living in the stone-age and practising cannibalism. Halliman was born in PNG and had worked for eight years as a Baptist pastor before going to America to raise funds.

Of course, he could have made clear that certain tribes practised cannibalism in olden times. But these practices had been outlawed by the Australian colonial administration and implemented by the kiaps and through the hard work of early missionaries.

My 300,000 Engan tribesman never practised cannibalism. Nor did Ekere Embago’s Huli people. We are the Huli-Opone people of the central highlands - a proud people, culturally linked to a common ancestor.

I’m sure Embago wouldn’t have discussed cannibalism with American journalists because he didn’t know anything about it. He couldn’t have understood what Halliman told journalists as he spoke only Tok Pisin and his own local Huli language.

Embago was upset when eventually I got to tell him how he was like a circus animal exhibited to congregations right across America in order to collect money. Anyway, at the time, I didn’t get to see him or Peter Halliman because their story in the Plain Dealer had hurt me so much.

I had wanted to meet my fellow countryman as I was homesick after being away from PNG for three months but, over the phone, I refused to do that, explaining I was very upset.

“You sound so harsh,” a Christian lady told me. “Peter loves your country. He showed us some good pictures.”

“But the country depends on tourism, and visitors could be scared away,” I replied.

Now Peter Halliman’s armed security personal have alarmed Port Moresby residents giving credence to last year’s disclosures by PNG Blogs that a private security operation was functioning in the country with the support of the O’Neill government.

I don’t think Gari Baki knows what he is doing or who he is dealing with. How can he take Halliman at face value?

I believe police commissioner Gari Baki was conned. He should suspend these mercenary operations and, as Sir Mekere Morauta has said, allow an independent investigation into this sinister security deal on the ever of PNG’s national elections next month.


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Dwight Barker

Is this being investigated or has it fallen thru the cracks. Would like to see these guys exposed to the national news with names and photo in the US .PNG really needs to prosecute these people

Daniel Kumbon

The following post by Tom Vickson Vali in Paugla’s Travel Diary blog on 19 May 2017 at 10:10 gives me the gut feeling that Pastor Halliman may have been raising funds in America after he escaped from the police cells in Tari.

RPNGC need to check this out. PNG cannot continue to harbour foreign criminals in the country.

This is Vali's post:

"I want to put something clear to public that so called pastor Peter Halliman is wanted by Tari police.

"I was part of the police team that raided Peter Halliman home in Tangi village in Koroba and Nogoli in Hides in 1991.

"We confiscated firearms (AR15 Rifle) with ammunition, crossbows and bows with so many arrows (Rambo type).

"He was arrested and charged, passport confiscated and he was locked up in Tari police cell, he escaped from cell with aid of policeman and escape from country, investigation never complete...

"So he is a fugitive still on the run."

Marco Jangi

Don't just kick them out of our country, prosecute them according to our laws.

It has been a practice to repatriate foreigners without prosecuting, which sends a wrong message to would be perpetrators to make the country's law sub-standard, applicable to only to PNGeans.

Daniel Kumbon

Tomorrow PNG Attitude will publish an extract from my book, ‘I Can See My Country Clearly Now', which concerns the strange case of professed Baptist missionary Pastor Ron Conaway who was jailed for eight months for possessing an array of firearms in his house at Wapenamanda. Don't miss it!

Peter Likius

Peter Halliman can not possibly be a pastor or if he is then he is either a backsliden reprobate or not a Christian at all pretending to be one.

Kick him and his mob of merceneries out now.

Bernard Corden

A reasonable estimate of economic organisation must allow for the fact, that unless industry is to be paralysed by recurrent revolts on the part of outraged human nature, it must satisfy criteria, which are not purely economic - RH Tawney - Religion and the Rise of Capitalism (1926)

The Americanisation of society continues unabated. They really are a crass bunch of despicable mercenary rednecks. There are a few exceptions such as Hemingway, Steinbeck, John Dos Passos, Upton Sinclair, Joe Hill, Emma Goldmann but most of them I would not feed.

As John Pilger often reiterates ......Who are the terrorists?

Bernard Corden

The United States is the only country to go from barbarism to decadence and bypass civilisation- Gore Vidal

Their worst export is its management - W Edwards Deming

They are a rude obnoxious race who have absolutely no respect for other cultures and their own culture is underpinned by greed.

Every nation gets the government it deserves

Rob Parer

Thank you so very much Daniel.

Will Self

It will be interesting to see how they get the money out of the country - or how it was shifted to them if it has already gone.

This cannot be done without bank involvement. No-one else can get money out without a tax clearance and I bet this outfit did not have it.

Barbara Short

I hope the US embassy will get the K7 million they conned out of the police and give it back to the police department.

Arnold Mundua

Thank you, Daniel. This article needs to go on the front pages of 'Post Courier' and 'The National' in tomorrow's editions.

Barbara Short

If I was in charge of the PNG News here is what I would write......

NEWS - Some American con artists have just conducted a clever Sting in PNG. They conned the Head of Police into thinking they were some great police experts that needed to be hired to train the PNG police for the APEC conference next year.

The man behind it is a crazy so-called Baptist missionary type- I would call him a real con artist. He grew up in PNG and he knows the state of the country but he could see the Head of Police .. a fine old gentlemen, could be easily conned.

They seem to have got a away with K7million.
My advice would be - Throw them into jail! ..

Barbara Short

Thank you Daniel Kumbon for exposing these American con artists who seem to have got away with K7 million which could have been well spent on protecting the elections or police housing.

Poor Gary Baki. Obviously time he retired.

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