A man-made trap designed to maim or kill has been found along a popular Northern Territory tourist bushwalk.
The sinister booby-trap construction was discovered at the mouth of the Finniss River – about 100km southwest of Darwin – and is believed to have been made to injure tourists, reports the Northern Territory News.
A local resident said the trap consisted of six sharpened sticks that were stuck vertically into the base of a one-metre-wide square hole.
A wooden frame was put about 15cm above the sticks, covered with black plastic bags and sand to hide the construction. The resident said someone may have been annoyed about increasing numbers of visitors coming to the area.
“It was put there to hurt someone,” she said.
“But I would hate to think that somebody did this to hurt tourists.”
NT Field and Game president Bart Irwin said he had never seen such a trap before other than in Vietnam War movies. He said the trap, near a campfire with left-over cigarette butts, was not for catching animals.
“The pit isn’t big enough for game to be trapped and leaving cigarettes around it would make game, especially pigs with their sensitive noses, avoid it completely,” he said.
“I believe the trap was intended to injure bush walkers. The punji sticks look like they could pierce the foot of someone who was wearing sandals or thongs.”
The finding has raised great concern with Territory Duty Superintendent Michael Murphy. He said setting man traps, spring guns or any other devices calculated to kill or harm people could be punished with up to three years imprisonment.