An amazing new report into the fall of Megaupload has revealed that special agents from New Zealand’s anti-terrorism Special Tactics Group took part in the daring January raid that ended with site founder Kim Dotcom in handcuffs.
New Zealand’s 3 News filed a story on Tuesday describing how local authorities threw nearly everything in their arsenal into the raid on Kim Dotcom’s Coatesville mansion last month, including police dogs, automatic rifles, helicopters and highly-skilled officers trained to handle life-or-death situations. Dotcom was arrested on January 20 following a tense game of cat-and-mouse that had police smashing through his mansion only to find the Internet mogul locked inside a hidden room.
The use of New Zealand’s Special Tactics Group, an organization trained to handle only the most violent and volatile scenarios, surprised Dotcom’s bodyguard in more ways than one. Tempero, who was asleep in the mansion when the beat of helicopter blades roused him, recounted the early morning raid as he walked reporters through the mansion.
“I heard this horrendous noise, and I knew it was a helicopter,” said Tempero. Leaving his guest house bedroom to investigate, the bodyguard described how he was met at the door by heavily-armed, plainclothes officers screaming for him to get down. He obeyed, adding that as he was handcuffed he noticed officers had already made their way into other areas of the sprawling residence.
Tempero also described how officers had busted down doors to bedrooms where the Dotcom family’s nannies slept and demanded to know if they were hiding guns or bombs.
Eventually, police made their way into Dotcom’s private residence, which he shares with his wife and children. Tempero said by the time he was escorted onto the premises, police had already breached and cleared several rooms with sledgehammers and circular saws. Some officers even mistook a broken dumb waiter for a panic room, explained Tempero, as he revealed the bashed-in wall above it.
Tempero eventually led officers to “the red room,” where Dotcom had fled to during the raid’s opening moments. Hidden behind a reenforced false wall inside a closet, the room’s ironic red carpeted stairs led police to their quarry. A gun safe containing a shotgun was also inside the room.
Tempero alleged that had officers played it more casual and less Hollywood action flick, Dotcom would have “complied to everything” they asked and even offered them breakfast. Dotcom is currently being held in New Zealand without bail and faces extradition to America. His bodyguard believes the U.S. government is looking to make an example of him.
“I think the American government needed to make a stand,” said Tempero. “I think that Mr. Dotcom was an easy person to go after because of history, and he’s flamboyant and he’s out there.”
Megaupload and its sister sites were closed by the U.S. Justice Department last month. Since then, torrent site BTJunkie has called it quits, shutting itself down early this week. Infamous file-sharing site The Pirate Bay also abandoned its .org domain for one based in Sweden to preemptively avoid possible legal action from the U.S. (via Torrent Freak)