People-trafficking charges have been laid in New Zealand for
the first time.
Two men arrested in the Motueka area this morning appeared in
Nelson District Court where they were remanded on bail until
The men were charged under the Crimes Act 1961 for allegedly
arranging by deception the entry of 18 Indian nationals into
New Zealand. People-trafficking is punishable under the
Crimes Act with imprisonment for up to 20 years, a fine of
$500,000, or both.
It was the first time the charges had been laid in New
Zealand, Immigration New Zealand said.
One of the men was also charged, along with a third person
arrested in Auckland this morning, under the Immigration Act
1987 in relation to false refugee claims they allegedly
organised and lodged for the 18 Indian nationals once they
arrived in New Zealand.
The maximum penalty for that is up to seven years'
imprisonment and/or a fine of up to $100,000.
The man arrested in Auckland will also appear in Nelson
District Court on September 4.
Peter Devoy, Immigration New Zealand's assistant general
manager for compliance and border operations, said the
prosecution was an extremely significant development.
"It shows how seriously we treat such allegations and the
fact this is the first prosecution for people trafficking in
New Zealand sends a very strong message that we will
thoroughly investigate any other cases," he said.
- By Patrice Dougan of APNZ