Crimes in Papua New Guinea

In Papua New Guinea (PNG), crime levels are high and police responses can be slow.

Crime is particularly prevalent in urban areas, such as Port Moresby, Lae and many areas of the Highlands, including Mt Hagen. 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 occurs throughout PNG. Known high-risk areas include the area around Parliament House in the Port Moresby suburb of Waigani (particularly outside working hours) and 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 High Commission, employ private security companies to help deliver a prompt response to calls for assistance and as security escorts.

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