Gang pair facing blackmail charges

Two men will appear in the Christchurch District Court as part of a police operation targeting...
Two men will appear in the Christchurch District Court as part of a police operation targeting organised crime. Photo: ODT files
Two men associated with the Mongol gang are facing blackmail charges as part of a police crackdown on organised crime in Christchurch. 

The arrests are part of the ongoing Operation Cobalt. 

A 37-year-old man will appear in the Christchurch District Court on August 5 charged with blackmail. 

The patched Mongol gang member is alleged to have threatened to burn a person’s property in an attempt to obtain thousands of dollars. 

Another man, aged 36, will appear in the same court on August 23 facing charges of blackmail, offering to supply class A and B controlled drugs and conspiracy to commit burglary.

The man was a patched member of the Mongols at the time and has been remanded in custody. 

Police allege that on multiple occasions between May and June this year, the man made threats towards the victim’s partner and young children, and obtained tens of thousands of dollars from the victim.

Police believed others were involved and are following a number of strong leads, with further charges likely.

In a statement tonight, police said they are concerned ang members are using their status as a means of intimidation to commit crimes. 

"Blackmailing is a common tactic used by organised criminal groups to attempt to raise revenue and gain influence.

"Police believe these are not isolated incidents and that there are other victims of this offending in Christchurch."

“Sometimes people find themselves feeling vulnerable or compromised for a variety of reasons. That’s when people can become victims of blackmail or extortion", Detective Inspector Scott Anderson said.

"If you, or someone you know, has been subjected to this type of behaviour, please tell us. You can trust us to deal with your complaint in a way that keeps you and your family safe.

"You can be confident that where possible we will hold these offenders to account."

Police said they would continue to step-up enforcement and the disruption of unlawful gang activity across the country as part of Operation Cobalt.

"Our message to those involved is clear – we have zero tolerance for any gang-related violence and criminal activity.

"We need our local communities to help us address unlawful behaviour in our region."

Information could be given to police by phoning 111 if a crime was happening now, or 105 after the fact.

People could also contact police via Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online via www.crimestoppers-nz.org

- ODT Online

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