Kiwi cop posted to China to stem meth flow

File photo / NZ Herald
File photo / NZ Herald

A New Zealand police officer will be posted in China's Guangdong Province in an attempt to stem the flow of methamphetamine here.

The yet-to-be selected attache officer will work with Chinese enforcement agencies to help identify criminals responsible for illicit drug or precursor chemical imports to New Zealand.

The two-year operation costing $1.1 million will be funded by money forfeited under the Criminal Proceeds (Recovery) Act.

Police Minister Anne Tolley said the initiative was part of the Government's Methamphetamine Action Plan, and follows the signing of a memorandum of arrangement on precursor controls between China and New Zealand last year.

"Our agencies are already producing good results with the support of their Chinese counterparts, and this initiative will support them to be more effective in keeping these despicable drugs out of New Zealand.

"A permanent police presence in Guangdong and greater co-operation will allow authorities to significantly disrupt the crime syndicates who are behind the drug trade to this country, while also impacting the supply chain."

The attache officer will be based at the New Zealand Consulate in Guangzhou and will report to the New Zealand police liaison officer at the New Zealand embassy in Beijing.

Assistant Police Commissioner Malcolm Burgess said it would be a huge asset to have an operational staff member on the ground in the part of China where a substantial amount of the drugs originated.

"The Chinese authorities have been extremely receptive to working together to fight the illegal drug trade," Mr Burgess said.

"Their co-operation has been instrumental in several recent operations including the termination of Operation Ghost in December which netted the largest haul of ContacNT ever seized in New Zealand."

Thirty-eight people were arrested during Operation Ghost for offences including importing, supplying and conspiracy to supply ContacNT and methamphetamine.

The 18-month operation yielded 594kg of methamphetamine precursors, several grams of methamphetamine, $1.2 million in cash and assets worth more than $20 million.

- APNZ

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