PORT MORESBY - Crime levels are high and police responses can be slow.
Crime is particularly common in urban areas, such as Port Moresby, Lae and many areas of the Highlands, including Mt Hagen and Hela province.
Squatter settlement areas of towns and cities are particularly dangerous. Robbery, assault (including sexual assaults), bag snatching and car-jacking are common. 'Bush knives' (machetes) and firearms are often used in assaults and thefts. The crime rate tends to increase leading into the Christmas holiday period.
Most crime is opportunistic but some robberies target expatriates in their homes or workplaces. Local authorities advise of a heightened risk of armed robbery at well-attended shopping centres, hotels, restaurants and other areas frequented by Westerners in urban areas, including Port Moresby. Most armed robberies involve firearms.
Sexual assault, including gang rape, is prevalent. Foreigners are sometimes targeted.
In major urban centres such as Port Moresby and Lae, it is dangerous to walk the streets, particularly after dark.
Car-jacking is common, in Port Moresby and Lae. Known high-risk areas include the area around Parliament House in the Port Moresby suburb of Waigani (particularly outside working hours) and at night, along the highway between Lae and Nadzab Airport.
Criminals use roadblocks on roads outside of towns to stop and loot vehicles, and attack the occupants.
Police response times can be slow. Many businesses, including the [Australian] High Commission, employ private security companies to help deliver a prompt response to calls for assistance and as security escorts.
Australian officials in PNG adopt heightened security measures at all times. This includes at home, at work, in public places and while travelling domestically. Officials receive security training and adhere to strict security guidelines. Closely monitor your personal security in PNG and ensure you have appropriate security measures in place.
Avoid high crime risk areas and activities.
Assess your personal security arrangements. Make sure you have appropriate security measures in place, in public and private spaces. Consider engaging a private security company.
Carry only what you need. Leave other valuables, including your passport, in a secure location.
Don't tempt thieves – avoid obvious signs of wealth.
Keep your car windows and doors closed and locked at all times, including when moving.
If you need to travel at night, consider using a security escort or travelling in convoy.
Secure your home or other accommodation, including when you're inside.
Be alert to your surroundings at all times. Females are particularly vulnerable to assault and theft.
Avoid travel by taxi or public transport especially if you're female.
Civil unrest and political tension
Tension between tribal, communal or clan groups can occur without warning. Fighting sometimes follows, often involving the use of firearms, rioting and looting.
Outbreaks of violence have occurred in squatter settlements and marketplaces in Port Moresby, Lae, Bulolo, Mt Hagen, Mendi, Porgera and other major towns in the Highlands, as well as in Oro Province, and Central and South Bougainville.
Clashes can result in widespread destruction of property, serious injury and disruption of normal services, including transport services. Opportunistic crime often increases in these circumstances.
On 14 June 2018, civil unrest and violence broke out in Mendi, Southern Highlands Province, following a court decision on a disputed election outcome. Rioters looted and burned an Air Niugini aircraft and several buildings.
On 15 June, authorities declared a State of Emergency in Mendi and deployed additional security resources to enforce law and order. Tensions between supporters of rival political candidates remain and could turn violent without warning. Monitor local reports on security, avoid protests and follow the instructions of local authorities.
Violent tribal clashes are ongoing in Tari in Hela Province. Porgera Township in Enga Province is under a State of Emergency because of ongoing violence (related to illegal mining at the Porgera gold mine) that has led to several deaths and injuries.
Reconsider your need to travel to Tari in Hela Province.
Reconsider your need to travel to Porgera Township in Enga Province.
Monitor the media and consult local contacts, such as airlines, accommodation or other service providers, on local security conditions and tensions before travelling to a new area.
Avoid trouble spots.
Follow the instructions of local authorities.