5 May 2012

People-smugglers stopped

8:00 am on 5 May 2012

Immigration officials at Auckland airport have stopped a people-smugglers operation.

A group of four Asian travellers was intercepted by immigration officers at the airport while being returned to Malaysia via Auckland, after being refused entry to Argentina.

Immigration New Zealand says a border officer noticed their accents were inconsistent with their stated nationality and there were problems with their Malaysian passports.

Border operations manager Karen Urwin says three of the four confessed they were Chinese nationals who had paid the fourth to smuggle them into South America via New Zealand.

The three Chinese have since been returned to China and the fourth person, who is a Malaysian citizen, has been returned to Malaysia where he will likely face prosecution.