The Department of Internal Affairs

Te Tari Taiwhenua | Department of Internal Affairs

Building a safe, prosperous and respected nation


Student sold video CDs of women being sexually abused


Selling video CDs of women being physically assaulted and sexually abused has cost Auckland student $8,010 in fines and costs and the forfeiture of his computer and its accessories.

The Auckland District Court today sentenced him on a total of seven charges of possessing for supply and supplying objectionable publications.

The Director of the Department of Internal Affair’s Gaming and Censorship Regulation Group, Keith Manch, said that the conviction resulted from information provided by a member of the public.

“We are always grateful for information from the public,” Mr Manch said. “While any individual piece of information might not lead to an investigation, it will be noted and could prove useful in future.

“Some people had been incorrectly concerned that the Privacy Act might prevent them reporting information about possible crime. Reporting a possible crime to the appropriate authorities is not a breach of the Privacy Act,” Mr Manch said. “It is no different to seeing a burglary and calling the Police.”

This case began in March 2003 when an Auckland video store operator saw an advertisement in the Mandarin Times offering the latest Chinese and European movies for sale.

He went to the address and bought four movies from him. He used his computer to make the video CDs by copying the movies from other CDs.

Realising that the CDs had no classification labels, the man took them to the Film and Video Labelling Body, which referred them to the Department. Department Inspectors believed one of the CDs was objectionable because it featured physical and sexual abuse of a woman.

In April 2003 Department Inspectors executed a search warrant on his home and seized several hundred video CDs, none of which had classification labels, and his computer and accessories.

Inspection showed that 200 of the CDs from which he would make copies were Japanese, Chinese and United States sex movies. Four were believed to be objectionable.

Two further movies believed to be objectionable were found saved on his computer.

When interviewed, he said that he obtained the movies from a friend in China and sold them to make money because he was a student and his family did not have a lot of money. He said that he had sold between 30 and 50 sex movies. He is 20 years old.

After being charged he at first pleaded not guilty but later admitted all seven charges.

Classification and labelling of movies, and enforcement

The Films Videos and Publications Classification Act 1993 requires that all films, including videos and DVDs, must be classified and labelled before they are exhibited or offered for supply to the public in New Zealand.

Films must be submitted to the Film and Video Labelling Body in the first instance. The Labelling Body can apply the equivalent New Zealand rating to a film that has been given an unrestricted rating in Australia or the United Kingdom. It forwards all other films to the Office of Film and Literature Classification, which is headed by the Chief Censor.

The Classification Office can classify a film as unrestricted, restricted or objectionable. An objectionable film is banned and it is an offence to possess, distribute or exhibit it.

Any film that has been classified or rated must carry an official label from the Labelling Body.

Neither the Classification Office nor the Labelling Body has an enforcement function. Enforcement is carried out by the Department’s Inspectors within New Zealand and by Customs Officers at points of entry to the country.

Media contact:

Keith Manch
Director Gaming and Censorship Regulation Phone 04 495 9449, Cellular 027 445 6420

Vince Cholewa
Communications Advisor Phone 04 495 9350, Cellular 027 272 4270