The leader of Waikato Mongrel Mob Kingdom has dismissed an international police sting this week in which some of his members were arrested as intimidation and payback for the gang's stand against biases and racism.
Thirty-five gang members across Waikato Comancheros, Waikato Mongrel Mob and Head Hunters were arrested yesterday as part of worldwide Operation Trojan Shield.
The crackdown — which police revealed this morning with a press conference — also saw police seize $3.7 million in assets, 20 ounces of methamphetamine, large bags of cannabis, kilograms of iodine, four firearms and numerous mobile phones. At the border, 8.6 kilograms of methamphetamine was also seized.
Police also seized 14 vehicles, including two marine vessels, and an estimated $1 million in cash.
Waikato Mongrel Mob Kingdom leader Sonny Fatupaito described coverage of the sting as a "trial by mainstream media set up by the NZ Police".
Fatupaito said in a statement the "targeting" by NZ Police and the media is "obvious intimidation and payback" for recent protests the gang has made about biases and racism in the force.
He said it was also about "Mongrel Mob Kingdom's role in highlighting how the NZ Police were embarrassed with the preferential treatment given to a privileged white politician's two death threats, compared with ignorning multiple threats to Māori MPs and the genocide of Māori throughout NZ".
Fatupaito was referring to the Māori Party's official complaint to the Independent Police Conduct Authority over an investigation into a video posted online by a white supremacist threatening to kill Māori and targeting marae.
The party's co-leaders questioned police communication and response time, in comparison to their action over death threats against National MP Simeon Brown.
"There was two people appearing in court and so this appears to be differential treatment between Māori MPs and a pākehā MP," co-leader Rawiri Waititi said.
Fatupaito said Waikato Mongrel Mob Kingdom has "zero tolerance" for the importation, selling and possession of illicit drugs.
"We call on Mongrel Mob Kingdom members, associates and supporters to remain calm and cooperate no matter how much they would like to react. The power of resistance is at best when showing nothing will provoke you to resist physically or verbally. Be proud of who you are and walk in dignity even when the state attempts to hurt or humiliated you, or your rights have been ignored or trampled on," Fatupaito said.
Earlier today, the gang's public relations spokesperson said the Waikato chapter had been the victim of a "smear campaign".
Louise Hutchinson, who has advocated on behalf of the Mongrel Mob chapter in the past, replied to 1 NEWS’ tweet of the story about the arrests accusing police and politicians of driving a smear campaign.