Woman rescued from dangerous Internet contact

By DPA, Gaea News Network
Sunday, February 15, 2009

WELLINGTON - Armed officers rescued a German woman who flew to Dunedin to meet a man she befriended online from what the New Zealand police described as a ‘dangerous situation’, a newspaper reported Monday.

‘The man was not who he had portrayed himself to be in his Internet communications,’ Detective Steve McGregor said in a statement to the Otago Daily Times.

He said the 30-year-old German woman realised immediately when the man met her at Dunedin airport Feb 8 that he had misrepresented himself on the Internet.

She subsequently telephoned people in Dunedin who she had befriended on her trip and they called the police when she failed to meet them in the city Thursday after earlier messages left them concerned for her safety.

Police raided a suburban house Saturday and called in the armed offenders’ squad after finding some of the woman’s property.

They then lay in wait and intercepted the woman and the man when they returned to the house about midnight, the detective said.

‘She was unharmed and grateful of the police intervention,’ he said, while refusing to give any further details about the man and the ‘dangerous situation’ she faced.

In his statement to the paper, Detective McGregor warned of the dangers of meeting people on the Internet and said caution must be exercised when making arrangements to meet personally.

He said caution was particularly important when a meeting was arranged in a foreign country, where a person might not have family or friends and as a consequence became isolated.

‘This isolation has the potential to place them in a dangerous situation they may not have anticipated or been prepared for,’ he said.

The detective said that at this stage police did not plan to charge the man with any offence. He did not release the woman’s name.

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