POLICE in Port Moresby are investigating claims an Australian woman was raped while in their custody.
The 44-year-old woman, who is being held over the murder of British expatriate John Hulse, alleges she was attacked by a policeman while being held in Boroko Cells, the main prison in the Papua New Guinean capital.
“This matter will be thoroughly investigated and if true the policeman will be dealt with criminally as well as through the police administrative process,” police commissioner Anthony Wagambie said in a statement on Thursday night.
The woman, originally from Hisiu Village in PNG’s Central Province, is an Australian citizen, police say.
She was arrested on Sunday along with 50-year-old James Paru, in relation to the murder of Mr Hulse.
The pair are alleged to have conspired with others to murder Mr Hulse, whose body was found on the outskirts of Port Moresby on July 23.
Police say the woman, Mr Hulse’s girlfriend, stole his British passport and a Cambodian woman’s passport from his house boat at the Royal Papua Yacht club, then lured him to the site where he was shot dead.
It was initially thought he had been stabbed, but police now say he may have been shot with a pump-action shotgun.
Metropolitan Superintendent Joseph Tondop said the policeman alleged to have sexually assaulted the woman has been identified and a directive issued to the Family and Sexual Violence Squad to investigate the allegations.
Supt Tondop described the allegations as serious and vowed that all measures would be taken to ensure the matter is thoroughly investigated.
“Investigators are now working on this case and if there is sufficient evidence incriminating the policeman accused, he will be subjected to normal criminal investigations,” he said.
“No one is above the law and a member of the Constabulary who abuses his or her position will be severely dealt with.”
Papua New Guinean police have named the woman, however AAP does not identify victims of sexual assault.