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Law change to beggar gangs and other drug dealers

Tony Ryall National Police Spokesman

Wednesday 18 April 2001

National proposes law change to beggar gangs and other drug dealers

National is proposing to strengthen Police powers for combating drug dealers and gangs. National's Police spokesman Tony Ryall will introduce a private members bill to revamp the Proceeds of Crimes Act 1991 to give Police a stronger weapon in the war against organised crime.

The Party's move follows a 26% increase in non-cannabis drug offences in the past year. In Wellington there was a 53% increase. This jump is linked to the burgeoning use of methamphetamine - known as speed - in New Zealand.

"The Police tell us that the methamphetamine market in New Zealand is run by the gangs. One gang, according to Police estimates, has property and holdings in excess of $10 million.

"We can lock up their leaders and henchmen, but another gang member fills the gap. Their illegal businesses continue.

"The key to breaking the gangs is to take away their money and assets.

"We want to make convicted drug dealers and gangs show ALL their property has been acquired through legal means, or we'll take it all off them.

"Right now, the law really only applies to the assets linked to the actual charge before the Court, with the Police having to prove the assets facilitated criminal behaviour or were purchased with the proceeds of criminal activities.

"National's bill will reverse the onus, deeming all of that person's or gang's property to be the proceeds of drug dealing and other illegal activity.

"If they can't prove it's clean money, then the Crown should confiscate it," Mr Ryall said.

The former Justice Minister also proposes to extend the investigative powers of the Proceeds of Crimes Act to other serious crimes including money laundering.

Parliament last month unanimously supported the introduction of Mr Ryall's earlier bill to give Police new powers to take compulsory DNA samples from burglary suspects.

Ends

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