Coronavirus: NZ Police issue stern warning to gangs breaching COVID-19 response protocol

Gang members who continue to flout the rules during New Zealand's COVID-19 response will be "arrested and prosecuted", according to a stern warning issued by Waikato Police on Sunday.

Detective Sergeant Andrew Saunders made it clear that any illegal activity or breaches of the current alert level 3 restrictions will not be tolerated.

"We have dealt with several incidents over the past week in which gang members have come to our attention breaking the law and breaching the restrictions," Det Sgt Saunders said in a statement. 

The latest gang-related incident in the Waikato region happened on Saturday morning, Det Sgt Saunders said, when officers returned to a known Mongrel Mob address in Hamilton for a follow-up visit. They had attended the property on Friday night and issued a formal warning to a patched member from Napier, who should not have been at the premises.

Two patched members were arrested following the visit on Saturday. A 35-year-old Auckland man was charged with unlawful possession of a pistol, while a 32-year-old Hamilton man had a warrant to arrest for failing to appear in court in March. Both men are due to appear in the Hamilton District Court on Monday. 

A 28-year-old patched Mongrel Mob member from Tokoroa was also dealt with for breaching alert level 3 protocol, Det Sgt Saunders said. It is not known whether he was given a formal warning or arrested.

Saturday's incident follows the arrest of a 34-year-old Mongrel Mob member in Hamilton last week. The man has since been charged with unlawful possession of a restricted weapon and obstructing a medical officer.

"Our message to those select few who don't believe the rules apply to them is clear - if we continue to find you blatantly breaching the restrictions and the law, you will be arrested and prosecuted," Det Sgt Saunders said.