3 Nov 2021

Police restrain assets of group illegally-housing migrant workers

3:51 pm on 3 November 2021

A group of people accused of earned money from illegally-housed migrant workers in Auckland have been served restraining orders.

AUCKLAND - MAR 30 2017:New Zealand Police officers on crime respond. With over 11,000 staff it is the largest law enforcement agency in New Zealand

File photo: Police officers Photo: Rafael Ben-Ari/Chameleons Eye/ 123rf

This comes after authorities investigated a village in a former bingo hall in Manurewa and an unconsented boarding house in Remuera.

At the sites, dozens of migrant workers were living in indoor cabins with no hot water, proper heating, or laundry facilities.

In a statement from Auckland Council a spokesperson said two people were convicted and fined for breaching the Building Act and the Resource Management Act, while a third person who denies the charged is going to trial.

Restraining orders have now been served to four individuals and two companies in relation to several bank accounts and properties across Auckland.

A spokesperson said this was the first time a council referral had lead to the Police Asset Recovery Unit restraining assets.

Auckland Council spokesperson Manager Kerri Fergusson said this was a serious case that required the support of the Police unit.

"This is an important step for Council. We've never involved the Asset Recovery Unit before; this is a first, but the nature of this case is serious enough for us to take this action."

"We hope this will be a deterrent to others that it's not okay to make money from criminal offending and options such as this will definitely be considered with our investigations in the future."

Detective Senior Sergeant Eddie Evans of the Northern Asset Recovery Unit said the unit will continue to work with other public agencies to disrupt this kind of crime in the community.

"Police are committed to working with our partner agencies in responding to and disrupting illegal activities or behaviours that are putting our communities at risk.

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