Indonesian Crime Network Uncovered After Arrest In Cooks Islands

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At least 22 tickets to Rarotonga purchased on stolen credit cards

RAROTONGA, Cook Islands (Cook Islands News, May 29, 2012) – An illegal Indonesian visitor was expelled from the Cook Islands last night after being found to be connected to an organized Indonesian crime network.

Immigration Cook Islands threw the man out after he confessed to travelling on airline tickets purchased with a stolen credit card.

Immigration director Kave Ringi told Cook Islands News that investigations by his officers have revealed that up to 20 tickets to Rarotonga have been purchased with stolen credit cards.

Several people have been in and out of the country since the ring started its operation, and the latest is Raedy Rahman Hakim who was arrested last Wednesday.

Hakim was picked up from his motel in Arorangi by officers last Thursday morning and was interviewed about his identity and the manner in which he obtained his ticket. Hakim did not require an interpreter as he spoke and understood English well.

There was no evidence to suggest that Hakim was using a false Indonesian passport.

Hakim said that he heard about the Cook Islands from his Thai friends but did not provide any specific details.

When Hakim realized the difficult position he was in, he volunteered to contact his mother to fund his return to Indonesia. He also volunteered to pay the airline’s costs in bringing him to the Cook Islands. This was arranged on Friday and the funds were received on Saturday.

Hakim has now paid for his return ticket in cash via Jetsave and also compensated the airline concerned for his travel from Sydney to the Cook Islands. His departure for Indonesia early today (May 29) is being monitored by Immigration and Immigration NZ. It is understood that the motel has been paid too.

Immigration Cook Islands is now working closely with Air New Zealand, Virgin Australia and Air Tahiti on the need to check the validity of travel tickets of Indonesian nationals intending to travel to the Cook Islands.

A check with one of the airlines last week indicated that at least 22 tickets were purchased with stolen credit cards in Indonesia for travel to Rarotonga departing via Hong Kong, Sydney or Auckland over the past few weeks. All bookings have since been cancelled.

"We are concerned that there will be an increase in non bona-fide visitors from Indonesia and South East Asia generally in attempting to enter the Cook Islands via Auckland," Ms Vasie Ngatoko-Poila, Immigration’s Compliance and Office Manager, said yesterday.

Immigration says Hakim’s case along with several others suggest that an organized crime network is operating in Indonesia and is particularly targeting the Cook Islands for some reason.

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