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Customs arrests two men for child exploitation material

Press Release – New Zealand Customs Service

16 April 2019
Customs arrests two New Zealanders for child exploitation material

In the past week, Customs has arrested two men in relation to child sexual abuse images. A 44-year-old New Zealand man appeared in the Nelson District Court on Monday, after a Customs investigation linked him to the online trading of child sexual abuse publications.

The man faces a number of charges relating to export and distribution offences under the Customs and Excise Act 2018 and the Films, Videos, and Publications Classification Act 1993. As a result of the Customs investigation, the man also faces additional Police charges relating to committing an indecent act and making an objectionable publication.

Customs began the investigation after receiving a tip-off from international sources about the man’s involvement in sharing child sexual abuse images on a popular social media messaging app. A search warrant was carried out at his home last week, where further evidence was found resulting in the man’s arrest.

In a separate case, Customs investigators arrested a 26-year-old New Zealand national in Auckland last week, after a forensic search of his mobile phone located images and video of children being sexually abused.

The 26-year-old man, who lives overseas, first came to Customs’ attention in 2015, after an international referral for similar offending overseas. When he recently returned to New Zealand for a short holiday, Customs officers questioned and searched the man.

Customs Operation Manager Investigations Stephen Waugh says the two arrests serve as a warning to offenders that child sexual exploitation is a serious crime, and that Customs will act, regardless of whether the offending images are carried physically across the border or traded online across the virtual border.

“Every time child sexual abuse images or videos are downloaded, uploaded or shared online, it contributes to the further victimisation of the children. This is also true if the objectionable material is taken across the border, when travelling.

“There is an entire global network dedicated to combatting the unacceptable crime of child exploitation. Here in New Zealand, Customs works closely with the NZ Police and Internal Affairs to safeguard and rescue victims, while holding the perpetrators to account.”
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