New Zealanders warned of increased danger in Papua New Guinea

New Zealanders travelling to Papua New Guinea (PNG) were today warned of deteriorating law and order and the possibility of terrorist attacks.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Mfat) upgraded its PNG travel advisory to New Zealanders from "some risk" to "high risk" and appealed for caution in the cities of Port Moresby and Lae, the Highlands and Mt Hagen.

"Violent incidents continue to occur without warning, and increasingly so in Port Moresby," Mfat said.

Car hijackings by armed offenders, assault, armed robberies and gang rapes had occurred, and travellers should not walk at night.

Isolated public areas such as golf courses, beaches, parks and other places frequented by foreigners could be dangerous, Mfat said.

Visitors were also advised not to use taxis or buses known as public motor vehicles (PMVs) but to instead rely on their sponsor or hotel to arrange transport.

"Should a driver be involved in or witness a road accident he/she may find themselves at personal risk, as crowds tend to form quickly after an accident and they may attack those whom they perceive to be responsible," the advisory said.

"Friends and relatives of an injured party may demand immediate compensation regardless of legal responsibility."

Persons involved in accidents should go directly to a police station, rather than stopping at the scene of an accident.

"Given terrorist attacks in South-East Asia, the proximity of PNG to that region, and current circumstances, the possibility of terrorist attacks cannot be excluded," Mfat said.

New Zealanders in PNG were encouraged to record their details and travel plans with the New Zealand High Commission in Port Moresby.

- NZPA

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