The Minister for Immigration and Border Security Hon. Petrus Thomas, MP was pleased with the Joint Government Agencies who successfully concluded a week long spot check operation targeting businesses in Eastern Highlands Province that resulted in over 20 arrest made.
“I commend the efforts made by the government team led by Immigration and Citizenship Authority (ICA) who carried out a remarkable operation to identify and apprehend foreign nationals that breach the Migration Act and the laws of this country whilst working and operating businesses in Eastern Highlands Province,” said Minister Thomas.
The Joint Agency Spot Check Operations (JASCO) was carried out by Immigration, Customs, Labour, Bank of PNG, Investment Promotion Authority, Censorship Board, Internal Revenue Commission, ICCC and the Police.
At the end of the seven day operations covering Yonki, Kainantu, Henganofi, Asaro, Lufa and Goroka town, the JASCO team checked over 100 foreign-owned business houses and companies.
A total of 22 arrests were made mainly for breach of visa and work permit conditions and appropriate charges were laid. Police have charged a Chinese national for being in possession of live ammunitions and pornographic materials and his co-worker was charged for being in possession of two police issued gas grenade.
Minister Thomas was grateful and thanked the Goroka District Court Magistrate for prioritising the 22 cases in which 16 foreigners were successfully convicted with their bail money of K5000 each converted as court fines. The remaining six will appear in court soon.
Up to 5000 confiscated items including sexual ointments, nude photos of women on gas- lighters, prohibited CDs and other illegal items confiscated by Customs and Censorship were destroyed.
Minister Thomas said that the foreign nationals who breached the Migration Act and if successfully convicted by the Courts will be deported. The Minister thanked the respective agencies involved in the operation, the Eastern Highlands Provincial Government and the people for their support and cooperation in assisting the JASCO team successfully concluding the operations.