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$150,000 worth of counterfeit stamps seized at bor

For immediate release 1 February 2007


$150,000 worth of counterfeit stamps seized at border

Customs and Police have thwarted an attempt to smuggle $150,000 of counterfeit stamps through the border.

Customs staff at Auckland's International Mail Centre last week intercepted the stamps that arrived in three packets containing 25,000 stamps each. The stamps had face values of $1.50 and $3.00 that totalled $150,000.

"This is the first time we've intercepted counterfeit stamps and it's a good example that counterfeiting knows no bounds and affects everything that's manufactured and has a commercial value," says Customs Acting Group Manager, Investigations, Bill Perry.

Mr Perry says investigations are still under way, but can confirm that the counterfeit stamps came from Asia and were destined for an Auckland address.

"The stamps had a subtle colour variation so our officers were able to work out they weren't legitimate."

Customs International Mail Centre in Auckland processes all international mail entering and leaving the country. Customs screens all mail entering the country using a range of methodologies including officers' skills and experience, x-ray equipment and detector dogs.

A man appeared in the Auckland District Court last week charged with obtaining a document for pecuniary advantage. He has been remanded in custody to re-appear in court on February 14, 2007.

NZ Police say they are taking the counterfeiting very seriously due to the size of the batch of forged stamps. Anyone with information relating to the case is asked to come forward and contact the Asian Crime Unit on (09) 259 0756.

New Zealand Post spokesman Richard MacLean says the seizure serves as a timely warning that stamps should only be purchased from PostShops or other reputable retailers.

No further information can be provided at this stage as the matter is before the courts.

Photos of the counterfeit stamps can be downloaded from the Photo Gallery, under the Media Centre, on Customs website www.customs.govt.nz


ENDS

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