Henry Chowing into Bougainville
It is not sheer coincidence that a real estate business be named after a place that is literally more a thousand kilometres away. Torokina is located in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville. The Torokina Estate on the other hand is located in Siar, Madang Province. That estate is run by owner of Lae Buscuit Company, Henry Chow. The estate contains 10 high covenant houses with a high picket fence surrounding the premises, complete with properly sealed inroads with cement catchments. The estate in other words is a dwelling place for the well to do.
Henry Chow by the way is a familiar name in the business of land grabbing in Papua New Guinea. This business is currently one of the biggest problems that many landowners are facing – with logging operations and oil palm projects sprouting all over the country like mushrooms. And the State’s very own police and defence are used to protect these so called investments in the name of the national interest.
Needless to say unfortunately, Bougainville is not immune to land grabbing. And Torokina Estate in Madang has everything to do with an oil palm project in Torokina of the Autonomous Region, the reason is simple; there is only one owner. Yes! Mr. Chow was able to acquire several hectares of Bougainville’s Torokina, much bigger than Madang’s Torokina.
The burning question in this case is the issue of how Mr. Chow was able to obtain a big portion of Torokina. The answer lies in the hands of the respected representatives of Bougainville, who, between the period of 2012 and 2013, made very interesting courtesy visits to Madang.
Even the head of Bougainville’s Catholic Diocese is in the loop, Bishop Bernard Unabali visited Madang in mid-2013 to meet up with Philippine’s RD Tuna Company and…that’s right! Henry Chow. The deal was believed to have been sealed by the Bishop, making land in the real Torokina available for an oil palm plantation.
Now, how is it possible that Mr. Chow has been able to get his hands on Bougainville? More importantly, who is behind this? This still remain a mystery, or maybe someone is trying to repay his debt, who knows? The reason why a dodgy character like Mr. Chow is in Bougainville is simple; people in power are allowing him.
Hence it therefore only logical to inevitably assume ABG is a party to this issue. And having in mind that the Catholic Diocese has to answer to its involvement in this matter, it would be very interesting to make an investigation into this. Otherwise, to call this assumption a bluff is nothing but a shortfall of the truth.