14 Nov 2012

NZ bikie given refugee status in Australia

1:08 pm on 14 November 2012

A former New Zealand bikie has been given refugee status in Australia after seeking asylum from fellow criminals back home.

A tribunal decided that the man, who was in a witness protection scheme before going to Australia in 2005, faced a threat of significant harm in New Zealand.

News Ltd reports that Immigration Minister Chris Bowen appealed the ruling in the Federal Court. But the court cleared the man to stay because of the government's protection visa rules.

News Ltd says the man was warned when he arrived in Australia that if he committed one offence on his temporary visa he could be removed.

However, AAP reports he went on to drink and drive, commit forgery and breach his bail conditions.

He is also charged with weapons and drugs offences and receiving stolen property.