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New Zealand lays 50,000 charges in crackdown on gangs


Wellington, Sep 6 (IANS) New Zealand Police have laid 50,000 charges against gang members and their associates through the Operation Cobalt in crackdown on gangs, Police Minister Ginny Andersen said on Wednesday.

The police also issued 64,524 infringement offence notices, seized 501 illegal firearms and executed 1,369 warranted searches and 781 warrantless searches as of August 31, Xinhua news agency quoted Andersen as saying.

“Illegal gang activities are a scourge on our society and the government has proven it backs Police to crack down on the proliferation of harm they cause in our communities,” Andersen said.

The vast majority offending by gang members is serious, she said, adding that the police have laid charges against gang members for crimes including assaults, intimidation and threats, family offences, burglary and theft, car conversion, Arms Act offences and drug offences.

“Police put their lives on the line every day to ensure that gang members are held to account for their offending,” the Minister said.

The police are also given greater powers to go after gang members, including the Criminal Proceeds (Recovery) Amendment Bill, which targets gang leaders and facilitators who try to hide their illegally-gained profits through their associates, and the Criminal Activity Intervention Legislation Bill, which provides greater tools to crack down on gang violence, Andersen said.


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