25 Feb 2004

Fiji police seek phone tapping permission

8:29 am on 25 February 2004

Fiji police are seeking powers to intercept telephone calls and eavesdrop on conversations in a bid to fight high level crime.

The police commissioner, Andrew Hughes, has told Fiji TV that such powers are essential to fight drug trafficking, people smuggling and other trans-national crimes.

Mr Hughes says it is all part of using modern technology against sophisticated crime.

He stresses that such equipment would be used only against the very top echelons of crime and not against ordinary offenders.

At present bugging telephone lines and eavesdropping on conversations are illegal in Fiji.

But Mr Hughes says he wants adequate safeguards, including having to obtain a warrant from a court or a similar body to intercept communications.

He says no-one should be immune from these powers regardless of position.