PNG's Port Moresby Governor faces death threat over betel nut ban

Powes Parkop faces death threat
POLICE are providing 24-hour security for National Ca­p­ital District Governor Powes Parkop and his family following threats over the ban on betel nut sales in the nation’s capital.
The ban came into effect yesterday after a seven-day grace period.
Parkop has been at loggerheads with disgruntled vendors and suppliers over the ban, which they claimed was cutting off their only source of income and their livelihood.
He received a death threat via a text message on his mobile phone last weekend. 
The message said: “Mr Gavaner yu stopim buai daka na papa blo buai daka Mekio. Kerema itok yu bai dai na u bai dai lo wanem way na ol tok mi Paul askim you yet???? Papuan black bai kaikai as blo yu so lukaut em bai sun o nait open your eye and see.” 
(Mr Governor you stopped betel nut and the fathers of betel nut, the Mekeo and Kerema, say you will die and they want me, Paul, to ask you which way will you die? Papuan Black snake will bite you so be alert day and night.)
The number of the sender is known and is now with the police for investigation.
“I have spoken with the NCD Police Metropolitan Supt Andy Bawa over the weekend and gave the number to him and police will deal with whoever is issuing threats to me and my family,” Parkop said.
He said police were investigating the threat because of the decision to ban the sale of betel nuts in NCD.
He said with the Digicel’s support they could identify the owner of the phone and arrest him or her.
“Those who have a grievance should find peace and proper means to raise them and not issue threats,” Parkop said.
He said such threats would not deter him from prosecuting the ban.
Parkop said most of his family members had been threatened.
“I will not succumb to threats of violence or black magic and I condemn the threats to my family.”
“You all are just wasting your time, I am adamant with the change and you will not sway my determination of keeping our city clean.
“If you want to talk, talk reasonable and do value others and the cleanliness of the city.
“You want to do black magic, commit physical violence and threaten me, I am determined and will not change my mind,” Parkop said.
Meanwhile, vendors burnt down two billboards at the Lareva market, in Hohola, Port Moresby, yesterday afternoon.
That followed the end of the seven-day grace period that was given for vendors to sell off their last betel nuts stocks in the city.
Frustrated vendors burnt down the billboards and all markets stalls were removed.
Parkop said police only had instructions to help the National Capital District Commission with the awareness about the closure of the market by end of business today (Tuesday).
He said there was no instruction to close the market by force.
Parkop reiterated that betel nut vendors and consumers would not stop him or change his mind about the ban.

The National / Pacific Flash
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