Nerve gas attack could happen in NZ - ex-Russian spy

A former Russian KGB spy who claims he may've been poisoned on New Zealand soil is warning the country it isn't safe from a nerve gas agent attack like the one in London last month.

Boris Karpichkov says the ease with which he entered the country on a fake Lithuanian passport highlights weaknesses in our system. 

"How does anyone in New Zealand feel himself or herself safe?" Mr Karpichkov asked Newshub.

"I got [my] passport back with the work permit stamped in."

Nerve gas attack could happen in NZ - ex-Russian spy
Photo credit: Newshub Nation

The Government confirmed to Newshub that Immigration "did not confiscate the false passport after noting it was false, and instead erroneously returned the false passport to Mr Karpichkov".

Mr Karpichkov also says he was attacked on Auckland's Queen St 12 years ago.

He claims someone threw a powder-like substance at his face, leading to health issues and severe weight loss in the years to follow.

"Basically the feeling is like you're being cooked, well done, from the inside," he says.

"Eveything is burning on the inside. Your internal organs, your face, your head."

Mr Karpichkov also believes his home and his movements were being watched during his time in Auckland.

"I disregarded it. I thought it was the New Zealand Secret Service or police watching me. [I thought] they obviously knew about my background."

He says he began recording details of the cars he believed were from New Zealand agencies, and says they were watching on to see what the Russians would do.

"They used me as a kind of human bait. Just to look what would happen with this chap and if he would be taken out, how it would happen.

"So they were curious, not protecting."

But Warren Taka, then-head of the SIS, wrote to Mr Karpichkov saying the spy agency was aware he was in New Zealand at the time and knew he was ex-KGB - but never had him watched or put under surveillance.

Police confirmed to Newshub there was a surveillance operation but Mr Karpichkov wasn't the target, saying it was focused on a local crime gang thought to be operating in his area. Police say the crime gang had no links to Russia.

Police also confirmed that a police officer who was physically aggressive to Mr Karpichkov, was involved in that surveillance operation. Medical reports show Mr Karpichkov was left with bruises, an abrasion and scratches on his hand when an officer tried to grab his phone.

Mr Karpichkov left New Zealand after his asylum claim was rejected. He now lives in England, and says he still fears for his life and family's safety every day.

Newshub Nation.