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Customs upgrades to combat criminal sophistication

Sunday 10 October 1999


Customs upgrades technology to combat increasing criminal sophistication

NZ Customs has purchased new high technology equipment - never before seen in New Zealand - to combat the increasing criminal sophistication being displayed at the border, says Associate Minister for Border Control, David Carter.

Close to half a million dollars has been spent on technology, which has the ability to detect drugs and explosives hidden within packing cases and luggage.

Customs will share the technology with other border control agencies, including the Police and Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.

"Given the increasing sophistication of criminal organisations world-wide, upgrading our technology at the border is a priority. This technology is at the cutting edge of detection work internationally and New Zealand will be a safer country for its purchase."

The technology includes vapour tracer ionscans, which can identify illegal substances stored in shipping containers, suitcases and mail packages, and itemiser ionscans, which match solid or liquid samples with drugs and explosives. Improved X-Ray technology, identical to that commissioned for the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, has also been commissioned.

The new technology is expected to begin arriving in the country next month, and will be moved around New Zealand to maximise its effectiveness.

"This technology will allow Customs to combat the sophistication criminals are employing in their efforts to bring illicit goods into New Zealand. The continued co-operation between Government agencies will also assist in the fight against the importation of illegal goods."

ENDS

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