Just days before the violence that left an asylum seeker dead in the Manus Island detention centre last month, a Papua New Guinea national working in the camp's catering section beat up a detainee in the dining area.
The incident is believed to have contributed to tensions between the detainees and PNG nationals employed in and around the detention centre.
Fairfax Media has been told the male PNG national was employed in the catering section operated by international food service provider Eurest.
A spokeswoman for Immigration Minister Scott Morrison confirmed he had been advised about an incident that was ''initiated by a transferee striking a member of staff of one of the service providers''.
A source working at the centre said the incident ensued after the asylum seeker tried to pull a plastic glove off the hand of the caterer.
''He also tried to cut him [the caterer] with a plastic knife, and he slapped him. He [the caterer] then bashed him,'' said the source, who asked not to be named.
Eurest declined to comment.