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Police asset seizures send message

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Michael Woodhouse.

Michael Woodhouse.
The Minister of Police is warning ''crime does not pay'', with criminals having tens of millions of dollars in assets seized, including jewellery, farms, boats and motorcycles.

Since the Criminal Proceeds (Recovery) Act came into effect in 2009, police have obtained Forfeiture Orders over assets valued at an estimated $50.2 million.

Half of that amount was directly linked to methamphetamine offending, Minister of Police Michael Woodhouse, told the Otago Daily Times this week.

The Act established a regime for the forfeiture of property derived directly or indirectly from ''significant criminal activity'', he said.

Money was used to fund the expansion of alcohol and drug treatment, including methamphetamine recovery, and additional initiatives by Police and Customs to ''fight organised criminal groups dealing in methamphetamine and other drugs''.

About $11 million had been used for cash detection training of drug dogs, the Alcohol and Drug Treatment Court Pilot, and rehabilitation programmes, he said.

''The Act greatly assists Police by providing a legal mechanism to deprive criminals of ill-gotten gains, and helps reinforce the message that crime does not pay.''

Last year, the ODT reported 14 assets with an estimated value of $862,105.22 had been forfeited across Otago and Southland.

One property forfeited to the Crown was the former Mongrel Mob gang pad in Middleton Rd, Corstorphine, the first property seized by Southern police and the second in New Zealand.

That property, which had a rateable value of $195,000, later sold at auction for $74,000.

Operation Canary has been another high profile case not included in the above statistic, where police seized $1.8 million worth of assets.

That included two Queenstown lakes properties worth a combined $1.2 million, an Invercargill property worth $380,000, about $100,000 in cash, a $38,000 boat and two cars worth a combined $45,000.

Late last year, police busted a drug operation by the Road Knights, seizing two motorcycles, and hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of property, including seven houses, five in Invercargill, one in Roxburgh and another in Moa Creek.


Seized assets include

• 13 boats.

• 11 Bonus Bond/share portfolios.

• 166 cars/vans/4-wheel-drives.

• 332 cash sums & bank accounts.

• 5 commercial properties.

• 3 farms/orchards.

• 3 furniture/personal effects.

• 27 jewellery collections.

• 8 lifestyle blocks.

• 69 motorcycles.

• 1 plane/helicopter (incl parts).

• 10 plant/equipment.

• 61 residential properties.