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NZer jailed over Thai child sex tours

A New Zealand motel and property owner has been jailed for three years for organising a child sex tour to Thailand, the first New Zealand case of its kind.

Tuesday 14 February 2012, 08:35AM


The 48-year-old, whose name is suppressed, was today (February 14) sentenced to three years jail after being found guilty in November in the High Court at Auckland.

The charge related to the man making travel arrangements for an undercover police officer, who in a sting operation had inquired about having sex with prostitutes under the age of 18.

The man was earlier found not guilty of publishing information promoting child sex tours, Fairfax New Zealand reported.

The maximum sentence available for the charge of making travel arrangements was seven years jail, but Justice Edwin Wylie said the offending was not "the most serious of its kind" and seemed "relatively typical of its type".

The man was arrested after booking flights for himself and officer "Michael Gray" and creating an itinerary for him that included visiting known gay sex hotspots. The man also gave Gray an explicit phrase card that included translations such as "how much for overnight?" and "let's go to my hotel".

The itinerary included visiting places where the man had gone previously to have sex with young men.

Justice Wylie said the man had little consideration for the effects on the Thai boys who he thought Gray would have sex with.

"Your intentions were to make money," Wylie said. "Your actions are despicable.

"It goes against the right-thinking minds of the community."

A mitigating factor the judge considered was that the man didn't initiate discussions with Gray. Gray contacted him through his travel website which had attracted no other customers.

The other factor was that the tour didn't proceed, but Justice Wylie said it would have if Gray was not a police officer, and would likely have resulted in other convictions, the news service reported.

The court heard that the man had been jailed on child-sex charges in Australia before being deported here in 2001, but had no criminal history in New Zealand.

The previous convictions included penetrating a child aged between 10 and 16.

The man had gone to great lengths to establish support for himself while in New Zealand, keeping in regular contact with a psychotherapist and social worker.

The offending took place after the man relocated to Auckland and his support network was "stretched", the court heard.

During the trial, the man described himself as being ephebophilic, meaning he was sexually attracted to youth, it was reported.

He had visited Thailand in 2005, 2007, 2008 and 2009, first visiting with his father on missionary trips, and later on his own as he discovered the gay sex scene.

On the latest occasion his baggage was intercepted by Customs on his return to New Zealand and files containing images of him in the company with young Thai males were seized, along with a sexually explicit Thai phrase card.

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