Armed police cordon off Hastings roads

TOM HUNT
Last updated 15:50 10/01/2014

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A thought-to-be-armed, heavily-tattooed Mongrel Mob associate is on the run from police after he sparked an Armed Offenders Squad callout in Hastings this afternoon.

Police communications manager Inspector Hirone Waretini said Miharo Jason Papa, 29, was wanted by police for breaching jail release conditions in Tauranga and for a family violence incident in Hastings.

Police today got a tip he was at a house in Hastings and may have a gun.

Police, the Armed Offenders Squad and negotiators blocked off a large area of Hastings, but when they entered the house, Papa was not inside.

Papa is described as a male Maori of solid build and 1.88m tall. He had a fresh swastika tattoo on his left cheek, a tear-shaped tattoo below his left eye and tattoos on his neck.

Police are continuing to search for him but are warning against people approaching him.

He was recently released from jail for unlawful possession of a firearm, being unlawfully in an enclosed yard and receiving stolen property.

The cordons laid earlier today on Willowpark Road North; St Aubyn Street East; Princes Street; Riverslea Road North; Avenue Road East; Queen Street East and Heretaunga Street East have been removed. 

Iris Kouzounian, who lives near the house police thought Papa was hiding in, was shut inside with a friend and four young children nearby while they listened to police on loud speakers calling for a man to come out of a Princes St house.

Mrs Kouzounian said they gave the man plenty of warning but he never came out.

She heard a woman screaming before a window was smashed.

She believed police had forced their way into the house.

''I just hope there wasn't any children inside.''

Mrs Kouzounian did not know the people who lived at the house.

She saw police at the block of flats the night before.

A workman nearby says he had heard numerous domestic disputes at the house.

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- The Dominion Post

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