TV New Zealand

The real Mr Asia
Terry Clark - TVNZ

Expose: The Real Mr Asia

25/10/2004 08:15 PM

When people think of the "Mr Asia" drug syndicate they normally think of New Zealander Christopher Martin Johnstone who was murdered 25 years ago this month.

Johnstone's handless body was discovered in a Lancashire quarry - still with his Chinese "long life" medallion around his neck.

The chance discovery of the body of the man dubbed "Mr Asia" signalled the end of the huge multi-million dollar drugs operation that started in Auckland and ended up spanning the globe.

David Lomas covered the Mr Asia story for The Dominion newspaper. "It was, and still is, the biggest crime story in this country's history," says Lomas. "Six murders, massive supplies of heroin in to three countries, kindergarten teachers as drug couriers, a glamorous lawyer as the bad guy's lover and corrupt Aussie cops- it had everything. But because all the details sort of just dribbled out no-one really out put all in to context."

In The Real Mr Asia David Lomas sets out to tell the full "Mr Asia" story for the first time on television.

He investigates the rise and fall of Terry Clark aka Alexander Sinclair and a host of other aliases - the man who was the real driving force behind the evil drug empire. The Terry Clark story is an almost unbelievable tale of drugs, sex, money and murder.

Lomas tracks down former inmates who shared prison cells with Clark, he speaks to the drug dealers who distributed his marijuana and heroin and interviews police in New Zealand, Australia and the United Kingdom who pursued Clark and eventually convicted him.

Associates of Clark say, as his evil empire grew, he developed a taste for killing people - and as the inevitable cracks began to appear in his organisation, he had to murder more and more people to save himself.

"All told the police say Clark murdered six people, but there are at least three other deaths which could be the work of Clark and his gang," Lomas says.

The other extraordinary feature of the Mr Asia story was the police corruption in Australia that allowed Clark and his syndicate to operate - and thrive.

"In those days the police in New South Wales and Queensland were completely corrupt," says retired judge Mr Justice Stewart, the man given the job of later investigating drug trafficking in New Zealand and Australia.

"It was said at the time you could buy the entire police force of Queensland and New South Wales for the price of a hamburger," Judge Stewart tells Lomas.

The Mr Asia gang was making more money than Clark could ever have imagined - but by the late 1970's the police were closing in.

The murder of Clark's business partner - the playboy Marty Johnstone - in the north of England spelled the beginning of the end.

Screens on Wednesday October 27 at 8.30pm on ONE.