PORT MORESBY, May 15, 2009 (AFP) - Chinese-owned shops and businesses in Papua New Guinea have been attacked in a wave of looting and protests by mobs of men and youths, reports said Friday.
The town of Lae on the northwest coast of the Pacific nation was hit on Thursday, with hundreds of locals attacking Chinese nationals and their businesses, PNG's National newspaper said in its online edition.
One youth was reportedly "chopped to death" and another hospitalised in an attempted break-in at a Chinese shop in the main market area, The National said, without elaborating.
Lae police commander Nema Mondiai said he did not know the cause of the attacks, but the newspaper quoted unnamed youths as complaining that the Chinese shops were "ripping us off".
"Who is allowing these Asians to come into our country and own small businesses which should be owned by Papua New Guineans? They are ripping us off and investing their money in their country," they said.
The attacks in Lae followed the ransacking of some Chinese-owned stores in the capital Port Moresby on Wednesday, reports said.
Last week, several Chinese staff were injured in a rampage by Papua New Guinea mine workers, who trashed vehicles and equipment at a major nickel project.
The violence temporarily halted construction work at the 1.37 billion US dollar Chinese-run Ramu mines Basamuk refinery site in Madang on the northern coast.
The Chinese government-owned Metallurgical Group Corporation, known as MCC, is the majority owner of the mine, which has been troubled by allegations of mistreatment of local labour.