Special investigation: How an undercover agent infiltrated the casino VIP lounge and led police to a sprawling underworld network flooding Auckland with drugs.
As well as stopping drugs coming into New Zealand detectives decided to go after assets bought with dirty money.
Under the Taskforce Ghost umbrella they launched Operation Galaxy – focusing on the financial affairs of the key players.
‘This investigation initially focused on a number of VIP members at SkyCity casino – in particular the flow of money related to drug transactions through the casino’ according to an affidavit sworn by Detective Inspector Bruce Good.
‘From my experience and numerous intelligence reports and organised crime investigations – SkyCity casino and in particular the VIP facilities are a recognised money laundering risk and an environment within which numerous drug distribution groups work – both alone and alongside one another’.
Felix Lim first introduced undercover cop Joe Arama to ‘Baldy Mark’ Hoo and other underworld figures in the VIP area.
At Hoo’s trial the casino was described by Detective Sergeant Mike Beal as the ‘geographical hub’ of Taskforce Ghost – a place where those under surveillance gambled ‘millions of dollars – some – tens of millions’.