Gang member, former member arrested in Christchurch for blackmail

Source: 1News

A patched Mongol gang member and a former member of the gang have been arrested in Christchurch and charged with blackmail.

A Mongols gang member (file image).

Police said the current Mongol member, a 37-year-old man, "is alleged to have threatened to burn a person’s property in an attempt to obtain thousands of dollars".

The former member, a 36-year-old man, was a patched Mongol at the time of the alleged blackmail.

On multiple occasions between May and June 2022, the offender made threats towards the victim’s partner and young children, police allege.

"The threats enabled the man to obtain tens of thousands of dollars from the victim," Detective Inspector Scott Anderson of Christchurch CIB said.

He is also charged with offering to supply class A and B controlled drugs and conspiracy to commit burglary.

"Police believe others were involved in this offending and are following a number of strong leads. Further charges are likely."

In a statement, police added that they have concerns about gang members using their affiliation to intimidate and facilitate offending, with blackmailing "a common tactic used by organised criminal groups to attempt to raise revenue and gain influence".

Anderson urged people to come forward to police if they, or someone they know, have been the victim of this type of behaviour.

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"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."

The arrests were made as part of Operation Cobalt, a nation-wide operation targeting organised crime.

It was rolled out in June as an extension of Operation Tauwhiro, which focused on unlawfully held firearms and getting them out of the hands of gangs in Auckland.