Underbelly: articles

Mr Asia investigative journalist appalled by Underbelly

THE investigative journalist who cracked the heroin ring at the centre of the Underbelly series says he's sickened by the glamourisation of criminals.

Pat Booth, who worked on exposing the drug ring lead by so-called Mr Asia, New Zealander Terry Clark, says he was "sickened" by the glamourisation of criminals in the promotional material for the show.

The journalist, who had a $30,000 contract on his head while investigating the drug ring for an Auckland newspaper, said a reference to "Kiwi ingenuity" was particularly appalling.

"Ingenious? Homicidal, sadistic, totally without conscience, a vicious criminal who murdered or had killed at least six associates - one survivor estimates 12 dead," Booth wrote in an editorial in The Dominion Post on Tuesday.

The second Underbelly series follows the booming marijuana and heroin trades and the drug kings and criminals involved in Sydney, Melbourne and Griffith from 1976 to 1987.

The series premiere attracted 337,100 New Zealand viewers when it aired last week.

In Australia, 2.584 million tuned in.

Booth said the series was "riddled with fiction and omissions", and warned it was important to remember Clark's syndicate had "destroyed the lives of hundreds of New Zealanders".

"Dead sons, missing without a trace or physically and mentally crippled by the addictions he made a fortune from, some still living under the false names given to protect them because they talked nearly 30 years ago," he wrote in the newspaper.

"And daughters seduced into beating Customs carrying drugs, exploited sexually and beaten when they failed."

March 10, 2009