This story was originally published on RNZ.co.nz and is republished with permission.
Police believe almost 900 people joined a gang this year , a 13 per cent increase on the year before.
Police data shows they have identified a little over 7000 people as belonging to a gang, although the number is likely higher.
This is a 13 per cent increase on the year before.
READ MORE: ‘Nobody is going to chase us away’ – 82-year-old stands strong in face of gang neighbours Rise in illegal trade in pounamu linked to gangs, iwi says Eight people arrested and cars impounded after November gang procession in Auckland Motorcycle gang leader brothers with criminal history to be deported to New Zealand
Notably a number of gang members with New Zealand ties have been deported from Australia , known as 501s referring to the legislation underpinning the deportations.
Detective Sergeant Ray Sunkel said the Australian imports are harder and bring a more violent mindset.
Following arrests targeting the Mongols motorbike gang in Bay of Plenty earlier this year, community advocate and lifetime Black Power member Dennis O’Reilly said that gangs like the Mongols, established by people deported from Australia, operated on an entirely different basis to the gangs New Zealanders were accustomed to seeing.
“They’re all New Zealanders by dint of having been exported here under 501, but they’re not playing the game,” he said.
Police have admitted they are facing challenges in fighting organised crime and gangs.
Earlier this year Detective Superintendant Greg Williams of the National Organised Crime Group told Morning Report there had been “a general arming up by the gangs” over the last three or four years, as well as a number of gangs increasing in size.
In the last year, police have sought to disrupt gangs by seizing $230 million of assets and laying money laundering charges against 118 gang members.
Video courtesy of RNZ
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