Police have arrested and charged two men as part of ongoing Operation Cobalt, targeting organised crime groups.
A 37-year-old man will appear in the Christchurch District Court on 5 August charged with blackmail. The man is a patched Mongol gang member.
He is alleged to have threatened to burn a person’s property in an attempt to obtain thousands of dollars.
A 36-year-old man will appear in the Christchurch District Court on 23 August charged with blackmail, offering to supply class A and B controlled drugs and conspiracy to commit burglary. He is currently remanded in custody.
The man was a patched member of the Mongols gang at the time of the alleged blackmail.
Police allege that on multiple occasions between May and June 2022, the offender made threats towards the victim’s partner and young children.
The threats enabled the man to obtain tens of thousands of dollars from the victim.
Police believe others were involved in this offending and are following a number of strong leads. Further charges are likely.
Police have concerns about gang members using their gang membership as a means of intimidation to facilitate offending. Blackmailing is a common tactic used by organised criminal groups to attempt to raise revenue and gain influence.
Police believe these are not isolated incidents and that there are other victims of this offending in Christchurch.
Detective Inspector Scott Anderson of Christchurch CIB says “Sometimes people find themselves feeling vulnerable or compromised for a variety of reasons. That’s when people can become victims of blackmail or extortion. If you, or someone you know, has been subjected to this type of behaviour, please tell us.
“You can trust us to deal with your complaint in a way that keeps you and your family safe. You can be confident that where possible we will hold these offenders to account,” says Detective Inspector Anderson.
Police continue to step-up enforcement and the disruption of unlawful gang activity across the country as part of Operation Cobalt.
Our message to those involved is clear – we have zero tolerance for any gang-related violence and criminal activity.
We need our local communities to help us address unlawful behaviour in our region.
Information can be given to Police by contacting 111 if it is happening now and 105 after the fact.
If for whatever reason you do not want to speak to Police directly, you can contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online via www.crimestoppers-nz.org.