MORE than 500 asylum seekers remain in a decommissioned Australian immigration camp in Papua New Guinea, despite a court ruling that authorities no longer need to supply power and food.

The camp inside a Manus Island navy base was declared closed on October 31, based on the Papua New Guinea Supreme Court’s ruling last year that Australia’s policy of housing asylum seekers there was unconstitutional.

However, the men who have stayed at the male-only camp on Lombrun Navy Base fear for their safety in the alternative shelters available in the nearby town of Lorengau because of threats from local residents.

Papua New Guinea police chief superintendent Dominic Kakas said that by yesterday, 38 asylum seekers had left the camp since the Supreme Court rejected an application to restore basic services on human rights grounds.

That meant 54 asylum seekers of the 606 in the camp had left since the camp officially closed in October, Kakas said.

He added that authorities are hoping that in the next couple of days or so, the remainder will leave.

Australian immigration and border protection minister Peter Dutton rejected security concerns about the Lorengau premises.