Thursday, 21 Oct 2021

Head Hunters/Mongols gang shooting: Police release image of suspect

Police are asking the public to help find a “dangerous” person believed to be involved in the Head Hunters/Mongols gang shooting in central Auckland last week.

A gun was fired soon after 9am at the 5-star Sofitel hotel at the Viaduct on April 15, sparking a citywide response with armed officers and the Eagle helicopter.

Police today released a photo of a person of interest, someone they described as “dangerous” and who should not be approached.

Detective Inspector John Sutton said a team of detectives had been tasked with investigating the incident which involved members from the Head Hunters and Mongols gangs.

“Anyone with information on this person that may assist our enquiries is asked to contact 09 477 5221 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111,” he said.

In what witnesses have described as a “moment of terror”, shots were fired inside the hotel near Auckland’s waterfront during a confrontation when members of the two gangs crossed paths.

The trouble between the Head Hunters and the Mongols which erupted so publicly last week has been brewing for some time, with buildings and cars linked to individuals on both sides being targeted by gunfire or suspected arsons.

The NZ Herald understands the police believe the feud can be traced back to the use of a single word.

A faction of the Head Hunters who reside on the North Shore refer to themselves as the word – which the Herald has chosen not to publish – and they have taken exception to the Mongols setting up a business in March using the same word.

The sole director and shareholder of that company is one of the five men who appeared in the North Shore District Court last week charged with unlawful possession of explosives.

On April 17, Auckland mayor Phil Goff told the Herald it was “intolerable that gangs are carrying out their feuds in public using firearms and risking public safety”.

“It really is important that New Zealand not go down the track of gangland America and zero tolerance is now shown to gangs employing firearms against each other or anybody else.”

Goff said he hoped those responsible were bought swiftly to justice and that subsequent convictions and sentences reflected the seriousness of the crimes.

“There has to be a clear message that Aucklanders, New Zealanders and police are not prepared to tolerate this kind of behaviour, of factions involved in criminal activities warring with each other.”

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