AFP Fugitive Apprehension Strike Team nabs men accused of crimes against children

AFP Fugitive Apprehension Strike Team nabs men accused of crimes against children

Two men accused of crimes against children overseas have been tracked down in Australia by the AFP’s Fugitive Apprehension Strike Team (FAST) which has worked with domestic and international authorities to facilitate their arrests and planned extraditions.

As part of National Child Protection Week, the AFP can reveal FAST’s success in identifying and arresting men living in Australia who are alleged to have committed crimes against children in New Zealand.

These include:

  • A New Zealand national, 44, located in Brisbane on 5 September, 2023 and wanted on 11 charges of alleged sexual and other offences against a child in New Zealand in 2015; and
  • A New Zealand national, 64, located in Townsville on 6 September, 2023 and wanted on 12 charges for alleged sexual and other offences against two children and one adult in New Zealand between 1986 and 2003.

The men have faced court in Australia where New Zealand authorities applied to extradite them to face court in New Zealand.

The FAST was established by the AFP in February 2021, and is a dedicated AFP transnational capability focused on pursuing and arresting fugitives wanted in Australia or overseas for serious Commonwealth, state and territory offences.

Since the inception of the FAST, 33 fugitives have been apprehended as a result of FAST investigations. 36 per cent of those arrested were wanted for child sex offences.

Investigators worked closely with AUSTRAC’s Fintel Alliance, a public-private partnership which brings together government and industry, as sharing financial intelligence is key to criminal detection and disruption. The AFP was also assisted by New Zealand Police and Queensland Police.

AFP Assistant Commissioner Kirsty Schofield said FAST’s specialist capabilities formed part of an overall effort by the AFP to protect children in Australia and offshore.

“The AFP is part of an extensive international law enforcement network effort to protect children and will help partners to track down anyone accused of causing them harm,” AC Schofield said.

“Equally, those living offshore who have offended against Australian children should know the AFP is coming, and one by one we will work with our partners to bring you back to Australia to face our justice system.

“The AFP is posted in 33 countries and our partnerships with overseas law enforcement agencies provide invaluable intelligence sharing and cooperation to help protect Australia and our way of life.”

Note to media:

Use of term CHILD ABUSE MATERIAL not CHILD PORNOGRAPHY

The correct legal term is Child Abuse Material – the move to this wording was among amendments to Commonwealth legislation in 2019 to more accurately reflect the gravity of the crimes and the harm inflicted on victims.

Use of the phrase ‘child pornography’ is inaccurate and benefits child sex abusers because it:

  • indicates legitimacy and compliance on the part of the victim and therefore legality on the part of the abuser; and
  • conjures images of children posing in ‘provocative’ positions, rather than suffering horrific abuse.

Every photograph or video captures an actual situation where a child has been abused.

Media enquiries:

AFP Media: (02) 5126 9297

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Follow the ACCCE Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube pages to learn more about what the ACCCE does to keep children safe online.

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