A group of seven Romanians, suspected of being part of a criminal gang, have been stopped from flying to New Zealand as they were about to board their plane.
Immigration officials became suspicious of the group and inquiries revealed a number had been convicted in the United States of organised theft.
Border Operations Manager Karen Urwin says the group claimed they were planning to stay in Auckland for five days because it was a beautiful time of year to visit New Zealand.
However she says it's her view the group are likely to be part of a criminal gang intending to commit crime here.
"I think it was a bit of a no-brainer really. I very much doubt they were coming here for the night and the scenery which is what they tried to tell my border officer."
Ms Urwin says immigration became curious when they discovered all of the group had had their flights booked at the same time, by the same travel agent and the majority were flying on newly issued passports.
It was discovered the group had recently been convicted of organised theft and deported from the United States.
Photo: Getty Images