After a major internationally-coordinated gang bust was announced yesterday, National leader Judith Collins maintains the Government is “soft on gangs”.
“I think the Government is soft on gangs,” she told Breakfast this morning, pointing to Associate Justice Minister Willie Jackson’s meetings with various gangs, including the Waikato Mongrel Mob chapter and Black Power.
“[That] simply does actually show that,” she said.
Yesterday, police said they arrested 35 people and laid more than 900 charges earlier this week. It was part of Operation Trojan Shield, which saw major enforcement action in more than a dozen countries around the world, including in the US, Australia and Europe.
Among those arrested were “senior members” of the Waikato Comancheros, Waikato Mongrel Mob and Head Hunters. Police said those arrested face a wide range of serious drug dealing and money laundering offences.
What the operation showed, instead, was that New Zealand police had “very deep connections” with the likes of Europol and the FBI, Collins, a former Police Minister, said.
It also showed gangs in New Zealand were working internationally, she said.
“Just as organised crime and criminals are operating internationally … it’s very obvious that this is international crime and good on the police for being part of that particular bust."
She added: “This is very much organised crime. And I don’t think anyone should get conned into thinking that whether someone’s the Mongrel Mob Kingdom of Waikato or anywhere else that these guys are good guys.”
Meanwhile, National's spokesperson for police Simeon Brown wrote in a tweet responding to Operation Trojan Shield: "I was right. The Govt should not be coddling up to the gangs." He then praised police for their work.
Yesterday, the leader of Waikato Mongrel Mob Kingdom dismissed the police sting, in which some of his members were arrested, as intimidation and payback for the gang's stand against biases and racism.
Sonny Fatupaito described coverage of the sting as a "trial by mainstream media set up by the NZ Police".
Fatupaito said Waikato Mongrel Mob Kingdom has "zero tolerance" for the importation, selling and possession of illicit drugs.