Hunt for gang associate sparks AOS callout

A swastika-tattooed Mongrel Mob associate on the run from police triggered an armed police raid in Hastings yesterday, which shut down several streets.

Inspector Hirone Waretini said police were searching for 29-year-old Miharo Jason Papa, who is wanted for breaching prison release conditions and failing to appear in the Tauranga District Court on January 9.

Police also wish to speak to Papa in relation to a family violence incident in Hastings on January 3.

Mr Waretini said police received information that Papa, who was known to have links in the Hastings area, was in a Princes St home and might have access to a firearm.

He said as a result of yesterday's tip the Armed Offenders Squad, Police Negotiation Team and police dog teams were called before cordoning off the residential area covering six blocks near Queens Square.

When police entered the home, Papa, who police say has a tear shaped tattoo below his left eye, numerous neck tattoos and a newly tattooed swastika on his left cheek, was nowhere to be found.

Papa has been in and out of prison following a variety of offences and in 2011 was denied bail to be with his dying mother because he jeopardised "public protection". He was also hunted by police in 2010 for violence-related charges.

Mr Waretini said Papa was recently released from jail for unlawful possession of a firearm, being unlawfully in an enclosed yard, and receiving stolen property.

Residents in the area told Hawke's Bay Today police instructed them stay inside.

Rosa Nobel was hiding in a nearby house with a friend and four young children after about 10 Armed Offenders Squad members walked past in "full armour".

"We heard them warning a guy, yelling at him to come out.

"After they warned whoever was in the house to come out several times we heard windows smashing and bashing on doors and police saying 'get on the ground'."

She said among the shattering glass and police orders, she heard a woman scream.

Mr Waretini said no other individuals were located when police searched the address.

Ms Nobel said the block of flats had been the scene of previous police activity and she had seen officers at the home the night before.

Police continued to search for Papa, described as Maori, 188cm tall and of solid build. When Hawke's Bay Today went to print last night his whereabouts remained unknown. Police say Papa should not be approached. Anyone who sees him should dial 111 or if they have knowledge of his whereabouts can give information anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

- Sam Hurley of Hawke's Bay Today

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