Questions go unanswered about how dangerous gang member was able to escape police custody

Questions remain after a patched gang member considered "dangerous" and facing "numerous" charges was able to leave court by pretending to be someone being released on bail.

William Tuitupou. Source: Supplied

A police search is ongoing for William Tuitupou, who is 48.

He escaped custody at Auckland District Court yesterday at about 11.30am. Police did not go public until after 5pm when they appealed for sightings.

Police say Tuitupou should not be approached.

A police statement yesterday said he posed as another prisoner who was being bailed from the court.

The Ministry of Justice will not comment other than to say it is supporting a police review and that Tuitupou was under police custody at the time.

The police will not be interviewed because a spokesperson is too busy.

Police said in a statement that officers are knocking on doors and scouring security camera footage in an effort to find the man.

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Gang member escapes court custody in Auckland after posing as prisoner being let out on bail

The Department of Corrections told 1 NEWS “police are best place to respond”.

But the office of Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis told 1 NEWS the minister did receive a verbal briefing in a meeting with Corrections officials yesterday.

His office said police are the lead agency as the man was in their custody.

The office for Police Minister Stuart Nash told 1 NEWS he has not been briefed about the escape.

Police said yesterday they were also "urgently reviewing" the incident to find out how it was able to happen.

Tuitupou was wearing a white top with black and white striped sleeves, pink shorts and green sneakers when he left court.

Police describe him as 180cm tall, medium to solid build, and with short black hair.