Man convicted of planning child sex tour
11 November 2011, 12:53
Wellington - An Auckland man was convicted on Friday of organising a child sex tour to Thailand, in a case described as a legal first in New Zealand.
Police said the 47-year-old man, whose identity was suppressed, was arrested last year after a covert operation where an undercover officer posed as a potential customer.
The man was convicted in the High Court in Auckland of organising an underage sex tour but found not guilty on a lesser charge of promoting the tour, police said. He faces a jail term of up to seven years.
Prosecutors told the court the undercover police officer contacted the man through a website which offered tours to Thailand for people seeking sex with young boys.
They said the man organised travel to Thailand for himself and the officer, agreeing to provide on procuring underage boys for sex. He was arrested before the trip was made.
Local media reported it was the first conviction under 1995 New Zealand legislation targeting the organisation and promotion of overseas child sex tours.
Detective senior sergeant John Michael said the two-year investigation, which involved various police agencies and the New Zealand customs service, showed authorities were determined to crack down on child exploitation.
"People who engage in this horrible kind of abuse of young children must be stopped," Michael said in a statement.
"We find this type of offensive behaviour involves people from more affluent nations travelling to poorer countries, where children are exploited for financial gain."
The man was remanded in custody and will be sentenced on February 14.
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