'They've just gapped it': Duo fled quarantine authorities after gang funeral

Belinda Feek, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Wed, 17 Jun 2020, 9:29pm
(Photo / File)
(Photo / File)

'They've just gapped it': Duo fled quarantine authorities after gang funeral

Belinda Feek, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Wed, 17 Jun 2020, 9:29pm

Two people who fled from authorities, breaching their Covid-19 quarantine restrictions, had been granted special exemption to attend the funeral of a Mongrel Mob relative in Hamilton.

The Herald understands the pair, aged 8 and 19, flew with four other family members, including their mother, from Melbourne, before being granted an exemption to attend the tangi of slain gang member Deiderick John Grant, known as DJ Rogue.

The 57-year-old was killed at a Slim St, Bader, property on June 5.

The family are believed to have flown to New Zealand to be with their whānau the following day.

The pair were given strict instructions to follow as part of their compassionate exemption, including to remain in their vehicle on the journey to Hamilton - and to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) if they got out. They are also understood to have been told to stay in the vehicle during the tangi.

They were then required, with their other family members, to return to the quarantine hotel, the Pullman, in Auckland afterwards.

Instead, the pair fled.

And tonight former police commissioner Mike Bush claimed six members of the Australian family had absconded, though five were now back in isolation at the hotel.

Deiderick John Grant, known as 'DJ', was farewelled at the Waikato Mongrel Mob headquarters in Hamilton last week.

Deiderick John Grant, known as 'DJ', was farewelled at the Waikato Mongrel Mob headquarters in Hamilton last week.

When questioned by the Herald tonight, the Ministry of Health revealed the two youngsters had now tested negative.

"The six members were staying at the Pullman Auckland in managed isolation and were granted exemption on compassionate grounds to attend the tangi and return to the facility on the same day.

"Four members of the family returned. A teenager and a child did not. The child was returned to the hotel managed isolation and quarantine facility in Auckland.

"The teenager remains in self-isolation at a family property. The teenager in self-isolation in Hamilton has had a Covid-19 test and tested negative.

"The five family members' request to join the teenager has been declined and they will complete their isolation at the managed isolation and quarantine facility in Auckland."

Strict border controls remain in place, with all arrivals going through health screening, getting tested for the virus and being forced to spend 14 days in quarantine or isolation.

Only travellers who have virus symptoms are placed in quarantine, whereas those who do not have symptoms go to an approved managed isolation facility.

People who are in quarantine after arriving in the country from overseas cannot attend a funeral or tangi.

A source has spoken to the Herald out of frustration as just days after the incident in Hamilton, two infected women who had landed in New Zealand from Britain were able to leave their quarantine hotel in Auckland and drive to Wellington on Saturday.

They were not tested before they left.

Director general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said yesterday that the pair did everything that was asked of them, including driving the 640km route between the two cities without stopping.

The source felt the ministry wasn't doing enough to protect the country, despite the hard work put in by Kiwis over the past three months including the strict lockdown.

"This thing with the [boys] happened before the women and I think that the people in charge have not learned from the first mistake.

"I'm just really, really worried about what's going on and I think the public need to know what's going on."

The person said the family came over from Melbourne to attend Grant's funeral.

"As soon as these kids have left the isolation centre, with their mother who was also part of the set up, they've just gapped it.

"They've breached all of the conditions of their agreement that was set up and just disappeared."

The condition for the mourners to stay in their vehicle at the tangi was "never going to happen", the person said.

"It was just ridiculous."

Hundreds of mourners from all around the North Island were believed to have attended Grant's tangi last week.

The source said the boys, and the rest of their family, mingled with them all.

"The ridiculous thing about the Mongrel Mob funeral in Hamilton ... you could see how many hundreds of people there were there ... these boys who essentially just came in the country from Melbourne were mingling all in amongst those people."

Another condition of being granted an exemption is to provide two addresses of where they would be staying. One would be a back-up.

The source claimed the first address provided to authorities was fake, while their back-up address was Slim St, the property where Grant was killed.

It led him to believe that the addresses provided by visitors were not being verified before their exemptions were granted.

"If that's the security we're providing ... it's just an absolute joke. They should be asking, 'what is the risk here?'"

He said asking families to wear PPE at all times was also "completely impossible" and said the ministry needed to up its game to protect New Zealanders.

"This is the thing, there's how many billions of dollars that's going to be spent, how long it is it going to take for the country to get back on track? How many people have lost their jobs? There's people who have committed suicide.

"It's crazy and yet, I'm guessing it's the Ministry of Health as they're the lead agency, are prepared to throw it all away for these guys to come over for a Mongrel Mob tangi?

"It actually frightens me about how incompetent these people are."