PORT MORESBY - Police in Papua New Guinea have begun searching for cars bought to transport world leaders around the 2018 APEC leaders’ summit but which have since gone missing from a warehouse in Port Moresby.
The police transport director, Chief Superintendent Dennis Corcoran, said he had instructed regional police bosses to begin searching for APEC vehicles that have been illegally moved out of Port Moresby, though he said this would be difficult.
“From intel, vehicle registration numbers have been changed but the only way to verify is through the engine numbers,” said Corcoran.
Corcoran confirmed to The Guardian that among the vehicles missing and believed stolen from the storage facility are a number of Toyota LandCruisers.
He was unable to state the total number of missing vehicles, saying that PNG’s finance department had failed to provide any figures.
But he did confirm that the fleet of Maseratis and Bentleys that was controversially purchased ahead of the summit are all accounted for.
PNG hosted the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in its capital of Port Moresby, spending an estimated K460 million on the event despite recovering from a devastating earthquake, a nationwide medication shortage, a polio outbreak and worsening TB rates, in addition to dealing with generally high rates of poverty.
The government promised the 43 luxury Maserati and Bentley luxury cars, as well as the rest of the fleet of around 300 vehicles purchased for APEC, would be sold afterwards with the proceeds going back to the government. But more than a year later few have been sold and some are missing, believed stolen.
Chris Kunyanban, the metropolitan superintendent in Lae said he was ready to arrest those involved in the thefts.
“All I need is proper documentations of the missing vehicles from Port Moresby so I can begin work immediately,” Kunyanban told The Guardian.