Manus Island refugee ‘in hiding’: report

A refugee is reportedly in hiding on Manus Island after allegedly being tricked by Papua New Guinea immigration officials into making an advertisement promoting resettlement.

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Haider Khan, 33, told the ABC other refugees have threatened his life after he appeared in a newspaper ad holding a sign saying: “Thank you for helping us.”

Mr Khan said he did not agree to the campaign and asked PNG officials not to use his image publicly.

“Many refugees said, ‘Everyone witness, if I see his face, we are kill him’,” he told the ABC.

He has been in hiding with a local resident since he fled the Australian funded transit centre three days ago, and has been subsisting on biscuits and bread.

Mr Khan said PNG immigration officials paid him $303 and promised him a meeting with the immigration minister, as well as refugee status, if he agreed to go on a trip to Port Moresby for the photo.

An advertisement was later published in two national newspapers, and reportedly included his name, nationality and occupation.

“The government of PNG has permitted refugees to live and rebuild their lives in PNG,” the advertisement said.

“Let’s give them a positive start.”

No refugees have been resettled in PNG in the almost two years since it signed the deal with Australia, nor does the Pacific island nation have a resettlement policy.

A spokesman for Immigration Minister Peter Dutton declined to comment.

Earlier this month an Iranian refugee was allegedly beaten up and threatened with death by three PNG immigration officers after he missed a 6pm curfew.

The trio have been charged and are expected to appear in Manus Island district court on June 26.