Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Customs net closes on illegal images

The New Zealand Customs Service has arrested a Wairarapa man over the alleged possession and importation of objectionable publications that depict the sexual abuse of children.

The defendant appeared at a special hearing at Wellington District Court this morning.

The 42-year-old Filipino national arrived at Wellington Airport last Saturday from a holiday in the Philippines. He was searched and arrested by Customs investigators after child sexual abuse images were located on two of his phones. 

A search warrant was carried out at his Wairarapa home on Monday, with additional electronic devices seized for further examination. Investigations are ongoing and further charges may result from in-depth forensic analysis of the man’s devices.  

Customs Manager Investigations, Cam Moore said Customs was initially alerted to the alleged offending by an overseas-based social media chat platform and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC).  

“Unfortunately, reporting on the online sexual exploitation of children continues to increase every year in New Zealand. This is abhorrent offending, with real victims and real consequences.” 

“Customs alongside our partners in Police and the Department of Internal Affairs, as well as our global partners, are strongly committed to doing everything we can to deal with this offending as it crosses our borders,” said Mr Moore.

The defendant was granted bail, with his next Court appearance set for 13 February.    

The maximum penalty for each of the two charges is 10 years’ imprisonment.    

If you have concerns or suspicions about someone who may be trading in, or producing child sexual abuse images or videos, contact Customs confidentially on 0800 WE PROTECT (0800 937 768) or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.   

If you are, or know of, someone who is at risk or being abused, contact the Police immediately.  

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