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- 10/28/2012 23:22:00
The criminals from the exotic island of Papua New Guinea are the subject of a new photo book about the Raskol gangs ruling the streets of the country's capital city, Port Moresby.
Photographer Stephen Dupont traveled to the mysterious land off the northeast tip of Australia to photograph the faces of these gang members who roam the streets of the city.
Dupont, a native of Australia, traveled to the island, which is one of the least explored spaces on earth, in 2004 and captured the essence of the renegades running the city, in a recently to be released book 'Raskols: The Gangs of Papua New Guinea.'
Dupont's montage came after his trip to 'a land where crime has gotten so out of control, personal security services are the country's largest growth industry,' according to a description for his book.
With an unemployment rate of 60 per cent, the dire poverty and fight for survival has made it a breeding ground for crimes such as rape, murder and carjacking,
Poverty pervades the entire Commonwealth, which declared independence from Australia in 1975, and its capital city of Port Moresby has been ranked as the most dangerous and unlivable cities on earth.
'This fenced-up, razor-wired, lawless metropolis is infamous for its criminal gangs known as raskols (the indigenous Tok Pisin word for criminals) ...Throughout Port Moresby, dense urban settlements and a general lack of law and order have led to intertribal warfare and a seemingly endless stream of kidnappings, gang rape, carjackings, and vicious murders. That's all in addition to soaring HIV rates and massive unemployment.'
In order to chronicle this dangerous population, Dupont 'infiltrated a raskol community and documented the rough and ruthless individuals involved in Papua New Guinea's gang life. Raskols presents formal portraits of the Kips Kaboni (Scar Devils), Papua New Guinea's longest established criminal gang.'
'Dupont set up a makeshift studio inside the Kips Kaboni safe house where he photographed his subjects and their unique handmade weapons and firearms. These mostly young, unemployed adults and teenagers orchestrate raids, carjackings, and robberies as a means of survival.'
'The gangs control the streets. Despite the crime and violence they have unleashed on their city, some view them as modern-day Robin Hoods. With a corrupt government and police force, every day in Port Moresby is survival of the fittest. Many of these raskols initially turned to crime, violence, and anarchy in a bid to protect and provide for themselves and their communities.'
Since he began his career as a photojournalist in 1989, Dupont has covered conflicts in Afghanistan, Burundi, Iraq, and Rwanda.
Dupont has exhibited his across the globe and has authored several books highlighting his work, including, STEAM: India’s Last Steam Trains and FIGHT: A global retrospective on traditional wrestling.