Auckland Sofitel Hotel shooting: Increased police presence over the weekend in response to gang-related shooting

Armed police swarmed Sofitel Hotel after shots were fired in the lobby on Thursday.
Armed police swarmed Sofitel Hotel after shots were fired in the lobby on Thursday. Photo credit: Newshub / Getty

Auckland police are continuing to look into Thursday's Sofitel Hotel shooting incident, but have still made no arrests.

The armed offenders squad was called to the luxury hotel in Auckland's Viaduct Harbour after tension between the Head Hunters and Mongols boiled over.

Police believe the incident was linked to an incident at Murray's Bay on Wednesday and a shooting in Mt Wellington last Sunday.

Det Insp John Sutton said there will be an increased police presence this weekend in "locations of interest".

Earlier this week, police arrested five Mongols following search warrants in Murrays Bay. The men were all charged in relation to the unlawful possession of explosives, and one man was charged with unlawful possession of a pistol.

Despite having made no arrests following Thursday's shooting, University of Auckland crime expert Jarrod Gilbert says police are responding accordingly.

"It's a tricky old game because the police do need to make sure they identify the group that are involved so that they can target them and target them with the appropriate amount of rigour," he told Newshub.

"Which to be honest needs to be quite high, needs to be quite firm."

Dr Gilbert said the incident has prompted an effort to "simmer things down".

"When you're dealing with these types of groups, there are often quite large numbers of them, and where there are large numbers, it's very very hard to create those fire breaks," he says.

"There's often meetings - informal meetings between the leaders and that begins to simmer things down - but the police have a really important role here because the pressure that they exert means that those efforts by the groups themselves to reign things in, becomes increasingly important. 

"Because there are arrests being made, there's a pressure being put on, you can't move without police attention and that's what we need to see here."

Sutton said police are sending a strong warning to gangs regarding this "reckless, dangerous and unlawful behaviour".

"We remain focused on de-escalating tensions and holding those responsible to account. There will also be an increased police presence over the weekends in locations of interest in Tāmaki Makaurau.

"Any incident involving firearms is treated very seriously and won't be tolerated and we have a team of dedicated staff across Auckland working hard to locate and arrest those responsible."