Something stinks! Foreign owned companies serving poison on PNG plates
Under Section 3 of the Investment Promotion Regulations 1992 certain business areas are reserved for citizens, including ‘Fast Food Take-away/Kai bars of all descriptions including mobile delivery food service’.
‘Really’, you say? Yes really, that is what the regulations actually say.
Though this hasn’t prevented Chinese nationals Xing Wu Zhou and Zhongshen Zhang from setting up Kai bars through their company J & Z Trading Limited. And wait to you hear what they have been serving up to their hosts in Madang.
On 11 March 2007 husband and wife Anita and Andrew Baikisa purchased fried rice from J & Z, before enjoying their lunch under the shade of a tree. The enjoyment was short lived.
Hidden underneath the top layer of rice was a festering pit of mould. This was a free extra they could have done without!
But here is where it gets interesting. Anita and Andrew aren’t your everyday consumer. They didn’t throw away the food, go home, get sick. They got sick alight, but not before they alerted the authorities.
The couple reported the shop to Sergeant Toby Kamseboda. After Sergeant Kamseboda tasted the food, he immediately took the couple to the local health inspector to report the incident. Later that night the couple were violently ill. When they presented at the General Hospital Doctors found the couple suffering from severe abdominal pain, diarrhoea, vomiting and dehydration.
The Baikisa’s then took legal action. Last week the National Court found J & Z Trading Limited guilty of negligence.
But why did it have to get this far?
With assets of over K10 million this Chinese business has done well out of the Kai bar trade, but this is business reserved for Papua New Guineas. Why isn’t the Investment Promotion Authority enforcing the regulations? Why aren’t the health authorities inspecting and fining these companies when their hygiene standards are so obviously low.
According to the former Chair of Political Sciences at UPNG, James Chin, J & Z are not alone. Many foreign nationals are entering the country illegally then flouting the law. Looking at Chinese mainland migrants, he writes once they have bribed their way in, they ‘immediately start small trading concerns, selling cheap Chinese consumer projects such as electronic goods and clothes. Others establish ‘kai bars’ (fast food outlets) and Chinese restaurants. All these businesses are illegal because such commercial activities are reserved for nationals … Other illegal operations run by mainland Chinese in PNG include brothels and money laundering’.
This is not about race or ethnicity, no one deserves to be judged on the colour of their skin. This is about foreign business people coming into PNG with a view to exploiting weaknesses in law enforcement and regulation. Whether it be forestry, mining or services, why are foreign entities allowed to monopolise our resources, avoid taxes, damage our environment, make our people sick and avoid justice.
Something stinks, and it isn’t just Anita and Andrew’s fried rice!