Forensic officers dug up parts of a South Auckland property in a major search that could be linked to the death of Thai woman Jindarat Prutsiriporn.
They have also been seen with firearms, wearing boiler suits and riffling through rubbish bins during the examination of a Wayne Drive, Mangere property, which began on Friday night. Witnesses report seeing people taken away from the house by police on Friday and officers arriving soon after.
The search wrapped up yesterday afternoon. A neighbour said the house had been under police guard for most of the weekend and officers were stopping all vehicles approaching the property.
But police will not say why they are there, nor will they discuss if it is to do with Ms Prutsiriporn's death last week. Bound and gagged, the slightly built 50-year-old threw herself from a car boot on to a Papatoetoe street last Tuesday evening. She died of her injuries in hospital and her death is being treated as a homicide.
Detective Inspector Dave Lynch, head of the inquiry, Operation Sisal, would not say if the Mangere search was linked.
"My only comment is that police are following a number of lines of investigation," he said. "At this stage there will be no further comment on any specific lines of inquiry or operation activity."
Mr Lynch did say the search posed no risk to the public.
A neighbour said the owner of the house was in Gisborne and her son had been living there. She believed they were a Thai family.
Sue Tolomaki, 68, heard banging and noise on Thursday night. She saw police arrive a day later.
"The man who lives there often comes and goes at weird hours of the night but there was a particularly large amount of noise on Thursday night and then there's been officers there since.
"There was officers with guns on the street yesterday, which was quite scary. There's lots of kids around here."
Another man, who lived near the house, said officers at the scene were also tight-lipped on why they were there.
"All we know is the young fella has been in a bit of trouble."
A woman at a neighbouring property said she saw three men being taken away by police on Friday.
"I saw the police come and jump over the fence but there was no one home. A Caucasian man I've never seen before turned up and police took him away. The son came about half an hour later with another Thai guy and police took them both away."
The woman heard digging at the property on Saturday. She said two officers were diggings with spades around the garage out the back.
"My neighbour said it looked like they were trying to crack a concrete slab."
The woman saw police search a car at the property while another neighbour said she was asked to turn off her lights as they were reflecting on the property's backyard.
"They were using those blue light things," she said on Facebook.