Major police operation underway in Raetihi

  • 19/08/2015
Police have set up a cordon in Ohakune (Emily Cooper / 3 News)
Police have set up a cordon in Ohakune (Emily Cooper / 3 News)

By 3 News online staff

Armed police have surrounded a house in Ohakune as the manhunt for convicted criminal Dolphy Kohu intensifies.

Two more arrests have been made at the property.

Thirty officers are now involved in the search for Kohu and a number of associates after they shot at police this morning.

A woman was arrested earlier this afternoon in relation to the manhunt. Police then returned to the property where she was arrested.

Commander Superintendent Sue Schwalger is appealing for Kohu to do the right thing.

"I would like you to hand yourself in. We would like to resolve this safely. You have an opportunity to make this right and we welcome you to come in and speak with us."

Police say the incident began to unfold at about 2:30am when they pursued a fleeing driver near Whanganui.

The police vehicle was then rammed by the fleeing car, with one of the people in the car firing shots at police at around 3:30am, near Ohakune.

A police car was then stolen by the suspects, thought to be three men and two women.

No officers were injured and the car has now been recovered, police say.

The armed offenders squad and the Eagle helicopter from Auckland are now trying to find what is thought to be a group of three men and two women.

The person arrested this afternoon is understood not be one of the five suspects.

The male suspects are described as Maori and include convicted criminal Dolphy Kohu, who police say should not be approached.

Kohu's uncle, Piri Kohu, said it would be a "great outcome" if his nephew turned himself in.

"Be very careful out there. Have a serious think about what you're doing, and be sure what you choose to do is what you choose to do," he told RadioLIVE.

"Depending on the choice you make, there will be two outcomes… One is the police will shoot you, and two they won't shoot you."

Earlier today, Supt Schwalger says police were yet to establish the location of the suspects.

"I can reassure the community that we are leaving no stone unturned to find them as soon as possible," she said.

"While police advise people maintain a heightened awareness, they should take the usual precautions and go about their business as normal."

Raetihi Primary School, Ohakune Primary School, Ohakune Kindergarten and Waiouru School are closed until further notice and are telling parents to keep children at home.

Kohu only has one month remaining on his sentence, so can only be put back in prison on his current offences for one month. But he could face a longer stretch in prison if he's charged with more offences.

3 News / NZN