By Cate Owen and John Campbell
On the morning of January 20th, the sleepy Auckland suburb of Coatesville became the subject of global attention after internet mogul Kim Dotcom’s mansion was stormed, and members of the Megaconspiracy arrested.
A number of police officers, many armed with automatic weapons and pistols, including members of the elite Special Tactics Group, arrived to arrest a man charged with copyright offences.
“Doors that weren’t even locked were being smashed open, there were police officers with sledge hammers and even a circular saw, and there were guns everywhere,” Kim Dotcom’s head of security, Wayne Tempero told Campbell Live.
Mr Tempero says on the morning of the 20th, two helicopters arrived and police officers with automatic weapons kicked down doors - including in the children’s quarters where guns were pointed at terrified nannies.
“The force was incredible. But had they simply asked us we would have opened the door to any room they wanted to enter,” he said.
Mr Dotcom agrees, swearing that he would have cooperated fully even if just one police officer with an arrest warrant turned up.
Mr Tempero says at the beginning of the event, he wasn’t even aware the gunmen were police. Noise from helicopters made it impossible to hear if police identified themselves, and so security measures were taken.
“I’ve done this for 23 years. Every client I’ve had, we’ve had a security protocol in emergency situations, and obviously this was one. I knew Mr Dotcom would have followed it to the letter, and the letter is… go to a secure room and stay there.”
When Mr Tempero took police to the secure room, he said they didn’t request Mr Dotcom came out.
“I thought they’d say “Mr Dotcom, police, please come down”. I know he would have, but when they opened the door, I heard was “man up” which means there’s a man running up the stairs with a gun.”
He said Mr Dotcom seemed shocked by the police action.
“I remember him saying “copyright infringement” and shook his head, like he’s going “what the hell?”. We weren’t building bombs in the cellar, we didn’t have a meth lab bigger than the South Island here. This was a normal family house.”