King David Peii II – Who is this Elusive Man?


In the South of Bougainville, the village of Tonu lies just beyond Buin where you will find the Twin Kingdoms of Me’ekamui and Papaala. Here lives an elusive character, a self-proclaimed king, Noah Missingku, also known as King David Peii II. A man living under a cloak of invisibility, who few have ever actually met, let alone seen, is hunkered down in what is described as a fortress but in reality looks nothing more than a village with armed guards at the entry. The mystery man is rumoured to never leave his complex and adorns a 5kg gold crown. I love a bit of controversy and this character had me intrigued!

Why are there two kingdoms and where did the gold for this 5kg crown come from? Surely looted from the Panguna mine? I needed to know more.

Sovereign Nation Bougainville - Photo credit Crooked Compass
Sovereign Nation Bougainville – Photo credit: Crooked Compass

After the civil war ended and a peace treaty had been signed, there were a handful of armed rebels who did not sign the agreement. At this time, Bougainville was still part of the North Solomon Islands. One of the rebels fathers, the late Francis Ona, who was the land lord of the Panguna mine and the leader of the Bougainville Revolutionary Army, set up the Kingdom of Me’ekamui (meaning Holy Land) in the Panguna mine area and proclaimed it as a no-go zone for locals.

Noah Missingku, sought refuge here with Francis Ona after a failed money scheme and dodgy fraudulent investments forced him to flee Port Moresby and escape the hands of the law. The ‘self proclaimed’ king then set up Me’ekamui, as a stronghold in Tonu, South Bougainville. He now resides in this ‘sovereign nation’ from where he operates the ‘International Bank of Me’ekaumi’ offering first class financial solutions. Within this kingdom which is simply bordered by a basic bamboo fence structure and heavily armed guards, this nation operates and trades in its own currency. They trade with paper money yet no-one knows where this is actually printed. Outside the kingdom, it holds no value. Its currency code is PBK.

So how does such a kingdom exist and operate, who is investing, and why have authorities not shut this micro nation down that is run by an alleged con-man on the run? So many questions float in the air as I attempt to seek permission to enter the complex and meet the king in person. Would he let me try on his gold crown? How does he strengthen his neck to balance a 5kg crown on his large head (or is that just his self inflated ego?) The attempt for access starts with several drive-bys. Our driver is incredibly nervous to even cruise past the entry more than once and this reaction intrigues me further. We send our crew back without our guests thinking a local approach may be better received as opposed to two trucks of nosey white tourists. This is followed by a brief chat with an armed soldier standing firm at the gate with a piercing look – he is immediately suspicious. He says he will request permission and will be in contact. It is not a no. I am slightly hopeful as I look at what could be the kings undies (😊) flapping in the breeze on the clothesline tied between two wooden huts.

The controversial Panguna Mine - Photo Credit - Crooked Compass
The controversial Panguna Mine – Photo Credit: Crooked Compass

There are people from all over Papua New Guinea that are the victims of the King’s flawed pyramid scheme.

The government won’t shut it down due the amount of arms held on the premises retained from the civil war. The authorities do not want conflict and continue to try to engage the cult behind these walls to re-join the peaceful community of South Bougainville – but the king is smart. He knows the minute he steps out of his complex, he will be arrested, so he sends strong messages that he is not interested in negotiating or peace talks. So much so, that his men shot a government official who got too close. I now understand our drivers nervousness.

A phone call comes through for our crew to attend a meeting with the ‘Protocol Manager’ at 6pm that evening to discuss the intentions of our request to visit the sovereign nation. Wow, what a job title. Again, I am hopeful.

I think back to what I saw as we drove past the so called kingdom. A rickety and worn sign stating this is a sovereign nation. Rice fields where the soldiers work are terraced across the stone beaten road. Soldiers jog in laps around a rectangular field, training – but training for what? I am told that some time ago, some tourists were taking photos and the soldiers surrounded their vehicle and took everyone’s cameras. I ask our guide who the soldiers are? Where do they come from and does he know any?

Bougainville village life not far from Tonu - Photo Credit: Crooked Compass
Bougainville village life not far from Tonu – Photo Credit: Crooked Compass

To my surprise, the wife of one our guides confirms her nephew is inside. She says he is stupid and the family do not understand why he would become involved in such a scam and have ostracised him from the family. The soldiers, they are local people. From Bougainville, Papua New Guinea and beyond. These soldiers are not ex military, they are not trained in defence and are certainly not trained in the use of arms – they are simply those who invested money with a promised return and whilst they await their millions, they work as soldiers for the king to insure their investment stays secure. They are protecting the king who is of course protecting their investments. Most of these soldiers are uneducated. They have been told that a plane is coming from the US with their money. The soldiers hang on every word of hope from their leader. There is no drinking or consumption of any sort of alcohol within the kingdom and the soldiers are not paid. They have board provided and if the harvest is good, and the rice is plentiful, asking to take excess rice back to your village can mean being booted out of the kingdom. Who would dare ask such a thing in return for hard laborious unpaid work? Many rascals take refuge in the kingdom to avoid the police. It is a toxic combination of the ‘wrong crowd’ and those who are gullible. To me, this is a recipe for disaster.

It is now after 6pm. I pace anxiously awaiting our crew to return from the all important ‘protocol meeting.’ An hour passes and we see our crew roll back into our village grounds. We are told the king is too busy to see us today, as there is an expected plane coming from Canada full of money for his people. He needs to be available when the plane lands. I understand of course… but my heart sinks a little.


Unless?? I perk up! Unless we are willing to trade and invest…. This does cross my mind for a moment… I could spare $100 – would that be enough to get through the gate and if I got in the gate, would I get out?

He does offer world class financial solutions after all!

No deal.

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