A Queensland man, 53, has been charged for allegedly failing to notify police of his intended travel to Papua New Guinea (PNG), breaching his reporting conditions as a registered child sex offender.

Investigations began on 27 February 2024, when an Australian man without a visa sailed into Daru, PNG on a yacht.

The Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary (RPNGC) Transnational Crime Unit (TCU) and PNG Customs detained the man and alerted the AFP in Port Moresby and the Australian Border Force (ABF).

It will be alleged the man revealed to the RPNGC TCU he had intended to fly to Port Moresby and onto Thailand.

The AFP Post identified the man as a registered child sex offender and passed information onto the AFP Queensland Joint Anti Child Exploitation Team (JACET).

PNG authorities detained the man in connection with immigration matters. Upon confirming his status as a registered child sex offender, the man was expatriated to Australia.

The man arrived at Cairns International Airport on Friday 01 March 2024, where he was immediately arrested by AFP officers.

The man appeared at the Cairns Magistrates Court on Friday 01 March, charged with one count of restrictions on overseas travel by certain registered offenders contrary to section 271A.1 of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth).

The maximum penalty for this offence is five years’ imprisonment.

He was remanded in custody to appear again at the Cairns Magistrates Court on Monday, 11 March 2024.

Offenders convicted of child sex offences are placed on a register and have reporting conditions imposed on them, which may include reporting interstate or overseas travel to authorities.

AFP Detective Acting Superintendent Wendy Rix said intelligence shared between law enforcement partners allowed authorities to move swiftly and intercept the alleged offender upon arrival into Australia.

“The effective intelligence sharing between the AFP and Papua New Guinea law enforcement partners was essential to the successful arrest of a convicted child sex offender,” Detective Acting Superintendent Rix said.

“The AFP is dedicated to protecting the most vulnerable members of our community and will continue to work with both domestic and international partners to identify and stop anyone involved in alleged offences of this type.”

AFP PNG Detective Superintendent Brendon Withers commended the RPNGC TCU in Daru for their vigilance in combating crime in the Torres Strait.

“Pacific transnational crime units are strategically placed throughout the Pacific region to combat these and other crime types, and enhance intelligence sharing between law enforcement agencies,” he said.

RPNGC Commissioner David Manning said PNG authorities had no tolerance for those who sought to export their criminal offending to Papua New Guinea, and highlighted the strength of the PNG legislative framework to protect communities from predatory offending.

“We work closely with our international partners to prevent offending across the Pacific region. This matter highlights our zero-tolerance approach to removing predatory offenders before they can harm our community,” Commissioner Manning said.

“Our strong legislative framework, in the Lukautim Pikini Act and Criminal Code, means that those who hide their predatory past or seek to harm our communities will be dealt with swiftly and in full measure.”

ABF Acting Commander Operations Queensland Scott Butters said the arrest was a warning to anyone who thinks they are beyond the reach of law enforcement agencies.

“Strong relationships with our regional partners mean strong borders and safer communities,” Acting Commander Butters said.

“The ABF has ramped up our border intelligence capability in recent years, working closely with agencies here in Australia and with our partners overseas to build a global web of information sharing on those who would seek to harm our communities.”