Armed police raid ends internet romance

It began with an internet romance between a New Zealand man and a German woman; it ended when armed police raided a South Island house.

Police said yesterday that the 30-year-old woman, who has not been named, arrived to find the Dunedin man with whom she had struck up a friendship was "not who he had portrayed himself to be".

And they warned of the dangers of online friendships.

Detective Senior Sergeant Steve McGregor said friends of the woman became concerned for her safety when she failed to meet up with them as arranged after going to meet a man she met through the internet.

The armed offenders squad raided a house and found some of the woman's belongings.

The woman was not there but shortly before midnight on Saturday, she returned with the man.

"She was unharmed and grateful for police intervention," Mr McGregor said.

The woman told detectives yesterday that she had become increasingly alarmed because it became obvious the man had lied to her about his personal circumstances.

She arrived in the country on February 8, and said she knew immediately when the man met her at Dunedin Airport that he had misrepresented himself on the internet, Mr McGregor said.

"The man was not who he had portrayed himself to be in his internet communications."

Mr McGregor refused to elaborate, but described it as a "dangerous situation".

He warned of the dangers of meeting people through the internet, and said caution was essential when making arrangements to meet such people.

This was particularly important when a meeting was arranged in a strange or foreign place and particularly in a foreign country where a person might not have family or friendly support.

"This isolation has the potential to place them in a dangerous situation they may not have anticipated or been prepared for," Mr McGregor said.

Police did not plan to lay charges against the man.


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