Four arrests for child exploitation in Customs crackdown

A man was arrested at Auckland Aiport on child exploitation charges.
A man was arrested at Auckland Aiport on child exploitation charges.

Four people have been arrested as a result of a Customs crackdown on child exploitation.

A 47-year-old New Zealand resident was arrested at Auckland Airport on January 13 after officers found child sexual abuse material on his phone, and a search warrant found more "objectionable publications" on his home computer. He faces charges for importing and possessing objectionable material.

A week later, Customs investigators with the support of police arrested and charged a 30-year-old Warkworth man involved in exporting and distributing child sexual abuse material using a common messaging application.

In late January customs offices arrested a 63-year-old dual New Zealand and United Kingdom citizen returning from overseas after seizing his electronic devices for examination. He faces importation and possession charges.

This month, Customs investigators with assistance from the Department of Internal Affairs arrested a 67-year-old Auckland man for exporting objectionable publications using an online chatroom. The man now faces charges for exporting and distributing objectionable publications, plus a cannabis possession charge.

Customs investigations manager Maurice O'Brien said the arrests are "a great start to 2017".

"While Customs remains focussed on stopping illicit drug smuggling, combatting child exploitation is also a high priority. Whether it's someone carrying child sexual abuse images and videos across the border or offending by uploading, downloading or sharing such material over the virtual border, Customs is committed to catching them.

"Customs uses intelligence and technology to identify travellers who may be carrying objectionable publications, and we have a small team of dedicated investigators who identify online offending.

"Forensic examination of e-devices, detained at the airport or seized at a search warrant, contributes to the evidence gathered for prosecution."

- NZ Herald

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