Police in Papua New Guinea are searching for almost 300 vehicles used during last year’s Asia-Pacific Economic Corporation (APEC) meeting that have mysteriously disappeared.
The government of the South East Asian country imported hundreds of vehicles for world leaders to drive around in during the conference.
Among the vehicles imported were 40 Maserati Quattroportes and three Bentleys. The government had said at the time that it would auction the vehicles after the summit. However, State Asset Recovery Unit Superintendent Dennis Corcoran revealed on Tuesday that 284 of the vehicles are missing.
“There are 284 vehicles… that were issued to personnel to use during the Asia-Pacific Economic Corporation (APEC) summit that haven’t been returned as yet,” he said.
“All 40 of the Maseratis and the three Bentleys are in top condition and locked away in the old wharf shed down on the main wharf,” Corcoran added, revealing that the vehicles missing include Toyota Land Cruisers, Fords, Mazdas, and Mitsubishi Pajeros.
Police know of at least nine vehicles that were stolen and a number of others that were returned with serious damage, The Telegraph reports.
According to government spokesman Chris Hawkins, many of the vehicles that have yet to be returned are sitting in government lots or being used by public servants, paramedics, and firefighters. Dennis Corcoran added that it shouldn’t be difficult to track them down, because he has a master list of everyone who signed them out.
The government of Papua New Guinea faced a harsh backlash from locals when news and images of the hundreds of imported vehicles came to light. At the time, the country was battling an outbreak of polio and many questioned the need to spend so much money on vehicles for the summit.