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Beggar Gangs And Other Drug Dealers - National

7 April 2002

National will revamp the Proceeds of Crime Act 1991 to give police a stronger weapon in their war against organised crime, says National Police spokesman Tony Ryall.

"The Justice Minister shouldn't be gloating about recovering $1.5 million from drug traffickers. This is a pathetic amount compared with the tens of millions of dollars gangs are making from drug dealing.

"Phil Goff should be embarrassed that's all the community can get back from these lowlifes.

"National will strengthen police powers to combat drug dealers and gangs. We want to make convicted drug dealers and gangs show that ALL their property has been acquired through legal means, or it will be taken off them.

"Last year's big jump in drug offences has been linked to the burgeoning use of methamphetamine (speed) in New Zealand and police tell us that this market is run by gangs. One gang, according to police estimates, has property and holdings in excess of $10 million.

"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 policy 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.

National's also proposes extending the investigative powers of the Proceeds of Crimes Act to other serious crimes including money laundering," says Mr Ryall.

Parliament last year unanimously supported the introduction of Mr Ryall's Members Bill to give police new powers to take compulsory DNA samples from burglary suspects.

Ends

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