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New unit to hunt assets of organised crime

Hon Judith Collins
Minister of Police
29 October 2009 Media Statement
New unit to hunt assets of organised crime

A team of hardened investigators is to be formed to hunt down and seize the millions of dollars in profits made by organised crime, Police Minister Judith Collins announced today.

The new 22-strong unit will be known as the Assets Recovery Unit (ARU), and will double the capacity of Police to investigate proceeds of crime.

“The ARU will be at the sharp end of our fight against organised crime and methamphetamine,” Ms Collins said.

“Over the past decade or so, gangs in this country have evolved into sophisticated criminal businesses that make tens of millions of dollars a year from the sale of methamphetamine and other crimes.

“Gang bosses have grown very rich. Their ill-gotten gains include farms, houses, cars, boats, motorcycles and other assets.

“Organised crime is a business. We want to put it out of business.”

The ARU will support new legislation the Government has introduced to target the proceeds of crime, including the Criminal Proceeds (Recovery) Act and Anti-money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act.

This legislation gives Police the power to detect and seize the assets and profits gangs and organised crime obtain illegally.

Ms Collins said seized proceeds would help fund methamphetamine rehabilitation, youth aid programmes and other initiatives that prevent young people from joining gangs.

“We’re not just going to take away their profits; we’re going to use those profits against them.”

The new unit will provide other government agencies with a mechanism to more effectively use both civil and criminal processes to target organised crime.

“By working with other government agencies, the ARU will cast a wide net around organised crime,” Ms Collins said.

“The message to organised crime can’t be clearer: this Government and Police are coming after you, it is coming after your assets and it is going to use every tool at its disposal to do it.”


ENDS

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