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Source: New Zealand Police – Press Release/Statement:

Headline: Seven arrests for alleged kidnap

Thursday, 5 March 2015 – 2:47pm

An investigation into a suspected kidnapping has culminated in the arrest of seven men and the recovery of thousands of dollars worth of stolen goods.

The coordinated operation, across three North Island Districts, targeted properties predominantly associated to members of the Headhunters, and sends a clear message that organised criminal activity will not be tolerated.

The investigation was initiated on Tuesday, 17 February. It is alleged that one man in his 20s was abducted from a property in Tauranga on the night of Monday, 16 February. Early the following morning a second man in his 40s was abducted from a property in Rotorua. Three vehicles were stolen during the two incidents.

The older victim managed to escape several hours later, and the younger one was released that night. Both had been assaulted.

This morning a number of search warrants were executed at addresses in the Tauranga and Whakatane areas of Bay of Plenty District. Other searches were carried out in Auckland Central and in Waitemata Police District. Six men were arrested during this operation and a 7th man was arrested yesterday (Wednesday, 4 February) in a vehicle in Northland. Armed Offenders Squads assisted with a number of this morning’s search warrants.

A significant amount of other stolen property has been recovered including vehicles and earth-moving machinery. A firearm has also been recovered.

All seven men, with ages ranging from 21 to 36, have been charged with kidnapping, aggravated robbery and participating in an organised criminal gang. Some face additional assault and firearms related offences.

One man from Whangarei appeared in Whangarei District Court today and has been remanded in custody. One man from Auckland is appearing in the Waitakere District Court today. The five remaining men (three from the Western Bay of Plenty, one from Rotorua and one from Edgecumbe) will appear in court tomorrow.

Police will be providing no further details about the alleged kidnap now that the matter is before the court.

However Crime Services Manager for Bay of Plenty Police, Detective Inspector Tim Anderson warns that that anyone who chooses to associate themselves with organised crime should be prepared for the consequences. He said: “Organised criminal gangs across New Zealand should be left under no illusion that the Police will continue to seize every opportunity to disrupt their activity. They are living a life of intimidation, violence and drugs and the harm to society is huge and will not be tolerated.”

Media enquiries should be referred to Communications Manager Kim Perks on 027 234 8256.