Lincoln Tan

Lincoln Tan is the New Zealand Herald’s diversity, ethnic affairs and immigration senior reporter.

Sex offender among those stopped at the border

Convicted criminal one of 777 foreigners denied entry to NZ in past financial year

Photo / Thinkstock
Photo / Thinkstock

A convicted German child sex offender tried to abscond to New Zealand but was returned by officials here to serve his sentence in Germany.

The man was one of 777 foreigners who were denied entry in the past financial year, a new Immigration New Zealand report says.

Forensic examination of his laptop at the border found more than 570 electronic books compiled from 35,000 or more images of sexual acts between young children.

He was charged, convicted and jailed for 10 months before being deported back to Germany.

More than 4.9 million passengers crossed the border in the past financial year, and pre-arrival screening also stopped 1696 foreign nationals from boarding flights to New Zealand because they did not meet entry requirements.

The top five locations involved were Malaysia (68), China (59), Hong Kong (55), Taiwan (46) and Australia (40).

Immigration NZ's border operations manager, Karen Urwin, said border officers constantly profiled flights and vetted passenger lists against databases of people known to present risk, "ensuring that New Zealand's security is improved and the integrity of our immigration system is maintained".

"These passengers are intercepted at check-ins all around the world and interviewed by a border officer before a decision is made on whether to allow them to fly to New Zealand," Ms Urwin says.

An "explosive growth" in the Chinese tourism market made Chinese nationals the third largest visitor group with nearly 300,000 passengers.

Australia remained the main source country for visitors (826,000) followed by the UK (307,000).

Significant numbers of visitors also came from the US (207,000) and Japan (90,000).

"Such growth is, however, not without risk," said Ms Urwin.

"Unscrupulous people often attempt to use identities from these emerging markets to smuggle in people who would otherwise fail to meet New Zealand's entry criteria."

Nearly 30 were offloaded from planes after being found to be known criminal gang members.

A passenger who arrived from China with minimal luggage and very recently purchased tickets was one of 36 found to be travelling on false passports.

He admitted paying a deposit of $200 for the fake Taiwanese passport and was expected to pay a further $20,000 if it successfully gained him entry into the country.

The man was returned to China.

Two Chinese nationals who arrived from Shanghai were also found with 14 foil-wrapped packages of seeds concealed under the inner soles of shoes, within a carton lining, in a handbag and in wedding invitations.

The husband and wife seed smugglers were sent back to China and are now subject to alerts to prevent any future travels to New Zealand.

A Canadian passenger on a private jet that landed in Queenstown from Tahiti was also denied entry after border officers found he had 36 counts of fraud and forgery charges pending against him.

The visitor had to vacate the private jet, buy his own tickets home and was sent back to Vancouver under police escort on the same day.

"It would be impossible for Immigration to achieve these results without the collaborative efforts of our partners at the border - the New Zealand Customs Service and the Ministry for Primary Industries," added Ms Urwin.


Keeping NZ safe

• 4.9 million - arriving passengers
• 1696 - denied boarding flights to NZ
• 777 - refused entry
• 36 - found with false passports
• 29 - known criminal gang members
• 101 - age of oldest arriving passenger

- Source: Immigration New Zealand


Denied entry

Sex offender: German twice convicted of sex offences against children tried to abscond to NZ.
Private jet: Canadian who arrived on private jet had 36 counts of fraud and forgery pending.
Banquet: A Chinese national was found with beef, duck, chicken and fish in her bag.
Seed smugglers: Husband and wife from Shanghai had 14-foil wrapped packages of seeds.
False passport: Chinese man used fake Taiwanese passport he was to pay $20,000 for if he got into NZ.

- NZ Herald

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