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Bugging device found in All Blacks' hotel room ahead of Australia match

The device was planted inside a chair and found during a routine sweep of the room in the lead up to the opening Rugby Championship clash on Saturday night. (Representative image) Photograph: (AFP)

AFP Sydney, New South Wales, Australia Aug 20, 2016, 01.52 AM (IST)

A sophisticated bugging device has been found in an All Blacks' hotel meeting room ahead of their test against Australia in Sydney, officials confirmed on Saturday.

The device was planted inside a chair and found during a routine sweep of the room in the lead up to the opening Rugby Championship clash on Saturday night.

New Zealand Rugby (NZR) said in a statement that police have been called in to investigate.

"A listening device was found in a meeting room this week during a routine security check," NZR chief executive Steve Tew said.

"The hotel immediately launched an investigation, we have informed the Australian Rugby Union, and jointly we have now decided to hand over the investigation to the Australian police.

"We are taking this issue very seriously, and given it will be a police matter, it would not be prudent to go into further details."

The device -- described as similar to that used by law enforcement and spying agencies -- was found inside a chair in the hotel on Monday, a day after the All Blacks arrived.

The foam of the seat appeared to have been deliberately and carefully cut to make way for the surveillance device and then sewn or glued back together to be almost undetectable, according to the New Zealand Herald.

It was discovered after team management asked the security detail looking after them in Australia to sweep the room for bugs.

The Herald said it had been told that hiding the device "was a highly skilled and meticulous act and whoever put it there would have needed a significant amount of time to have pulled off such an accomplished job."

(AFP)

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