New Zealand citizen, Ngati Knaohi Te Eke Haapu (above) has been confined to a high security prison in Australia after his visa was revoked for being an alleged member of outlawed motorcycle gang ‘The Rebels‘.
His partner told the new Zealand Herald that while he was serving in Afghanistan with the NZDF, Happu’s duties included protecting Prime Minister John Key during a visit in 2010.
This is the image the New Zealand public are being shown of Ngati Knaohi Te Eke Haapu, who is being presented as a decorated “hero” in his home country
The UK’s Daily Mail says that Mr Haapu was arrested at Perth’s Casuarina prison last Saturday.
Haapu had been at the prison visiting another senior member of the gang who is also held pending deportation to New Zealand. New Zealander Joel Royston Makaea (below), a senior member of the Perth Rebels gang, was detained by immigration at Perth airport on 2 September 2015, his visa has since been revoked.
Haapu was about to drive off after the visit when armed police surrounded his car with taser guns drawn. Until his arrest Haapu had worked for 3 years as a scaffolder in the WA mines.
He was removed from the vehicle, handcuffed and placed in a prison van before being locked in solitary confinement inside the high-security facility. It’s believed Immigration Minister Peter Dutton revoked Mr Haapu’s Triple Four visa two weeks ago when he returned to New Zealand to visit family. His lawyer Michael Pena-Rees said Mr Haapu is still ‘shellshocked’ by his incarceration. source
Mr Haapu is thought to be one of three New Zealand nationals who were taken into custody over the weekend and their visas cancelled on character grounds. The other men are Mehaka Tepuia and Michael Joiner who’ve lived in Perth for more than a decade.
New Zealander Joel Royston Makaea (above) is sergeant-at-arms of the Rebels’ Bentley-based chapter, he has lived in Perth since March 2005. Makaea was detained by immigration at Perth airport in September, his visa has since been revoked.
Makaea served five years in prison after “he and an accomplice bashed another man with a shovel, cut his achilles tendons and stabbed his hands”. Makaea is being represented by the same lawyer as Mr Haapu – Michael Pena-Rees.
Pena-Rees is also representing Aaron Joe “AJ” Graham (Kiwi founding member of the Rebels gang in Tasmania) and his co-accused Michael Glenn Preedy.
Under changes to Australia’s Migration Act in December 2014, the cancellation of visas of suspected or convicted criminals is mandatory. On the hit list are groups that incite religious or racial hatred, Mafia figures, drug traffickers, outlaw bikies, child sex offenders, and anyone who has been imprisoned for 12 months or more.
Police in various Australian states have already drawn up, and acted upon, lists of criminals that could be deported under the new law, regardless of whether they’d been convicted of a criminal offence or not.
New Zealand “angry”
The deportation issue has become a hot topic in New Zealand where anger is growing at Australia’s crackdown on unwanted foreigners.
New Zealand’s Prime Minister John Key raised his concerns about the policy directly with Malcolm Turnbull during his visit to New Zealand last month.
More than 100 Kiwis have already been sent home this year and it is understood close to 200 more are in detention awaiting deportation.
The crackdown began in December when the threshold for revoking visas was lowered to include anyone who had been jailed for more than twelve months, or members of organisations such as bikie gangs that were suspected of being involved in organised crime.
A spokesman for the Department of Immigration and Border Protection said the Government remained committed to protecting the Australian community from those involved in serious criminal activity. source