Patched Mongols gang member denies blackmail allegation

Police allege two Mongols MC gang members blackmailed a family with threats of arson. Phioto: NZ...
Police allege two Mongols MC gang members blackmailed a family with threats of arson. Phioto: NZ Herald
A patched Christchurch Mongols MC gang member has today denied an alleged extortion with threats to torch a car.

The 37-year-old was arrested alongside a fellow Mongols member as part of the ongoing national police crackdown targeting organised crime, Operation Cobalt.

The Christchurch man whose occupation is listed as concrete worker appeared before Judge Brian Callaghan from custody this morning charged with blackmail and two counts of possessing an offensive weapon – a knife and a length of wood. He's also accused of failing to assist police officers exercising a search power under the Search and Surveillance Act 2012.

Police allege that between July 9 and yesterday he threatened to "cause serious damage by fire" to a man's car to try to obtain money.

The blackmail charge carries a maximum penalty of 14 years in jail.

Defence counsel Ethan Huda said the man denies each charge and elects trial by jury.

Judge Callaghan remanded the man in custody to a Crown case review hearing in October.

An application for bail will be heard next Thursday.

A 36-year-old man, also a patched member of the Mongols gang, will appear in court on August 23, charged with blackmail, offering to supply class A and B controlled drugs and conspiracy to commit burglary.

He is currently remanded in custody.

Police allege that on multiple occasions between May and June 2022, he made threats towards "the victim's partner and young children".

"The threats enabled the man to obtain tens of thousands of dollars from the victim," a police statement said last night.

"Police believe others were involved in this offending and are following a number of strong leads. Further charges are likely."

Police say they have concerns about gang members using their gang membership as a "means of intimidation to facilitate offending".

"Blackmailing is a common tactic used by organised criminal groups to attempt to raise revenue and gain influence," the police statement said.

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

Detective Inspector Scott Anderson of Christchurch CIB says sometimes people find themselves feeling vulnerable or compromised for a variety of reasons.

"That's when people can become victims of blackmail or extortion," he 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 say they are continuing 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 can be given to Police by contacting 111 if it is happening now and 105 after the fact.

"If for whatever reason you do not want to speak to Police directly, you can contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online via www.crimestoppers-nz.org."

-By Kurt Bayer

 

 

 

 

 

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