A German tourist has been jailed for ten months, after Customs officers found more than 35,000 child sexual abuse images on his laptop.
Markus Balzer, 42, was arrested when he arrived at Christchurch Airport from Germany on March 6 this year, carrying a laptop containing Japanese Manga cartoon images of child sexual abuse.
Balzer indicated to Customs officers that he was an author who receives the images from clients to turn into electronic books for retail sale.
Forensic examination of the laptop found more than 570 electronic books compiled from over 35,000 images of sexual acts between young children.
Balzer pleaded guilty to importation charges and was sentenced at the Christchurch District Court yesterday.
Shane Panettiere, Customs' Acting Group Manager Investigations and Response, says child sexual exploitation imagery of any kind is prohibited in New Zealand, and importation is a serious criminal offence.
"Whether it is an actual child or a cartoon, every image depicts a child being sexually abused, degraded, exploited and tortured and nothing excuses this offence," he said.
"The reality of child sexual exploitation imagery is grim enough, but undertaking a commercial enterprise around this activity is horrific."
Customs places high priority against child sexual exploitation offending.
This year, Customs has successfully prosecuted six offenders in relation to child sexual abuse material.