The global police organisation INTERPOL is urging New Zealanders to consider the consequences of buying counterfeit and pirated goods.
INTERPOL's "Turn Back Crime" campaign, which is supported by New Zealand Police, is highlighting the dangers of organised and other forms of crime and their impact on everyday life.
While many understand that transnational organized crime networks are behind various forms of trafficking such as illicit goods, fake medicines, drugs, arms and even people, many are often unaware of the links with other seemingly unrelated and varied crimes.
Crimes such as counterfeiting, cybercrime, kidnapping, fraud, crimes against children and corruption in sport are often interconnected, with profits from one crime area used to fund another.
"In simple terms cheap, branded goods like medicines, clothing and accessories can end up funding organised crime and even terorrism." says Detective Senior Sergeant Steve Dunn, head of New Zealand's INTERPOL bureau.
"We know Kiwis love a bargain and have embraced online shopping. But the reality is that those bargain branded goods will probably be fakes and your money could end up funding organised crime networks somewhere in the world.
"New Zealand Police works closely with the New Zealand Customs Service and the Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand in this area. Legislation provides for some control at the border for dealing with counterfeit and fake items, and Customs works closely with brand holders and industry to identify the people and commodities involved and determine the appropriate action.
"However all New Zealanders can play their part by looking beyond the price and not creating another crime victim somewhere in the world.
"Use your common sense and buy from reputable retailers, both on the high street and online. If it looks too good to be true then it probably is." said Mr Dunn.
INTERPOL Secretary General Ronald K. Noble says police and citizens around the world face and deal with the reality and effects of crime every day:
“Through the Turn Back Crime campaign, INTERPOL and law enforcement across the globe are looking to engage the private sector and the public, making them aware of the very real effects that crime has on individuals’ lives and to inspire them to come up with innovative ideas on how to prevent and fight crime." said Mr Noble.
An INTERPOL produced video highlighting counterfeit goods and links to organised crime is available on Youtube.
INTERPOL (International Criminal Police Organisation) has 190 member countries and promotes international cooperation in the prevention, detection and suppression of crime. INTERPOL's New Zealand bureau is based at Police National Headquarters in Wellington and is staffed by personnel from New Zealand Police. www.interpol.int
Grant Ogilvie, PNHQ media team
04 474 9476