A gang of Bulgarian suspected card skimmers on their way to New Zealand have been caught as they boarded a plane bound for Auckland in Kuala Lumpur.

The group of nine was stopped yesterday and two of them were prevented from boarding the flight.

The partner of one of the pair also stayed in Kuala Lumpur while the other six flew on to New Zealand.

Immigration New Zealand border operations manager Karen Irwin said two of the group were found to have been previously arrested for credit card skimming offences in Mexico.


"Now initially the two that we had some evidence on denied that they'd ever been deported form another country or that they'd ever been involved in credit card skimming,'' she said.

"When they were confronted with very compelling evidence of them including photographs of them standing with the police in Mexico, they eventually admitted it was true.''

The six others who made it to Auckland declined to be interviewed by Immigration and were sent back to Kuala Lumpur.

Last month police in the Russian city of St Petersburg cracked an international organised crime ring specialising in skimming. Among those apprehended were two Bulgarian nationals.

In December 2009, two Bulgarian skimmers were sentenced to two years and four months' imprisonment in New Zealand after admitting providing false information and 10 computer crime charges. They admitted skimming ATMS in Motueka, Ashburton and Christchurch.

This week four Canadian nationals appeared in court in Auckland on card skimming charges.

Mario Rivera, Sina Chea, Kevin Roberto Flores Roldan and William Alexander Rivera Rivas were arrested at the weekend.

Their charges including participating in a criminal group and intent to obtain pecuniary advantage dishonestly.