Superintendent Ted Cox, Commander of Auckland Metro Crime and Operations said today that New Zealand Police provided valuable assistance to a lengthy multi-national targeting operation that culminated in the arrest of Wong Moon Chi in Phnom Penh, Cambodia earlier this month.
The arrest was the culmination of inquiries that commenced in August 2003 when senior officers of the Australian Federal Police, United States Drug Enforcement Administration, UK National Crime Squad and National Criminal Intelligence Service, New Zealand Police, and Royal Canadian Mounted Police met to consider a joint strategy aimed at disrupting major drug traffickers who target our countries. This group is referred to as the Transnational Targeting Network (TTN).
Wong Moon Chi, a Chinese national then resident in Cambodia was selected as a target for joint investigation due to his alleged long standing involvement in high level international trafficking of both heroin and methamphetamine. Assistance was sought from the Cambodian National Police to identify WONGâ€™s current identity and place of residence. Other international police agencies, including the Hong Kong Police, were also engaged.
Wong was arrested in Phnom Penh, Cambodia on Wednesday 8 December 2004, and on Monday 20 December 2004 was extradited to Hong Kong. Wong appeared before a Hong Kong magistrate the following day and faces a total of 10 drug-related charges including charges in relation to the trafficking of 200 kilograms of methamphetamine.
All partner agencies involved in this matter recognise the very important role played by the Cambodian National Police, in particular their Commissioner-General Hok Lundy, in this contribution to the fight against transnational illicit drug trafficking.
Superintendent Cox said the TTN is a graphic illustration of the benefits that can be achieved through multi-lateral intelligence sharing and investigation.
"Although the arrest of Wong did not take place in New Zealand, nor were there any drug seizures effected in New Zealand, the result is very significant for New Zealand law enforcement because of Wongâ€™s established connections here. The arrest has disrupted one source of synthetic (methamphetamine) and/or plant based drugs (such as heroin) that could have impacted on New Zealand. Any disruption of this type benefits our community through the reduction of harm to New Zealanders' health and well-being caused by illicit drug importation and consumption."
Superintendent Cox said New Zealand Police is committed to -
• The TTN concept in terms of collectively targeting high impact transnational crime which historically has been extremely difficult to penetrate by individual law enforcement agencies working in isolation.
• Tackling international drug trafficking at the highest level in tandem with domestic drug investigation to disrupt the flow of drugs reaching the streets of New Zealand.
Units from Auckland Metro Crime assisted the investigation, and co-ordination with other agencies involved was provided through the National Drug Intelligence Bureau in Wellington as well as the NZ Police Liaison Officer network internationally.
He said this latest success has been welcome news to investigators who have successfully disrupted a number of transnational crime rings either targeting New Zealand or using New Zealand as a transhipment point for other markets.