A businessman alleged to be the source of millions of emails offering sexual enhancement pills has become the first person in New Zealand to be raided under tough new anti-spam laws.
The Christchurch man had been identified by a Danish spambuster.
Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) spokesman Trevor Henry said the department had been investigating the international spam operation but was forced into action when the BBC in Britain identified the New Zealand connection in a news report on Friday.
On Monday, DIA inspectors obtained search warrants and made four simultaneous raids on Christchurch properties, seizing 22 computers and boxes of documents.
On Tuesday, they spoke to two men who they described as "businessmen" but declined to identify.
They were now assessing the evidence before deciding what action to take. The raids were the first since New Zealand's anti-spam law took effect in September, bringing in fines of up to $NZ500,000 for an organisation or $NZ200,000 for an individual.
In August 2003, the Christchurch businessman named by the Danish spambuster told The Press the spamming business paid well, and claimed to have had sales of $NZ300,000 in the previous eight months.
"When you look at it, most men are willing to spend a couple of hundred bucks if they think it will give them a few more inches down there," he said, referring to penis-enlargement products.
"What man doesn't want that? So, yes, it is a good business."
The alleged spammer, then described as a father of two and former hospitality worker, said he had 15 different types of American-made penis-enlargement pills, with the spam emails being channelled through servers in Poland and Pakistan.
He said he had had "plenty of death threats", but was unapologetic about the impact on recipients, adding: "If you don't want to receive spam, don't connect to the internet, or don't have an email address."
The same man last week was identified as the Christchurch spamlord by Danish IT consultant Henrik Uffe Jensen, who said he had been plagued by spam emails and decided to fight back by getting through the concealment methods used to hide the originating address.
The BBC claimed the method he used was to place an order for penis-enlargement pills, but to include a secret piece of computer code that would get through the slave or zombie computers used to hide the originator.
The BBC made contact with the alleged spammer, who denied the allegations.
The Press, New Zealand
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