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A South Westland policeman, scenting an international scandal, raced to Fox Glacier yesterday after a woman in China alerted New Zealand authorities that her father had just been kidnapped.
However, on arrival at the busy tourist town, Constable Bill Parker found the visitor in a cafe enjoying a meal with his wife.
"It was a real waste of time. He had sent a text to his daughter as a joke but she took it seriously," Mr Parker said.
"He was given a stern warning about wasting police time and resources."