Key Points:

Two of three prisoners who escaped from a police van in Hamilton on Monday remain on the run while the third was recaptured early today.

Richard Joseph, 30, was caught just after midnight trying to flee from a house in Tokoroa.

Detective Sergeant Kevan Verry said three people who were family associates of Joseph were also arrested.

Joseph will appear in Tokoroa District Court this morning on a charge of escaping lawful custody.

Mr Verry said the three others faced charges of aiding a fugitive evade recapture.

Police were still on the hunt today for the other two prisoners, Thomas Te Rangi and Darren William Snowden, who escaped with Joseph.

The trio were among nine remand prisoners being taken from Hamilton's central police station to Waikeria Prison, when they managed to breakout the van as it stopped at traffic lights in suburban Melville.

Police have not publicly released details of how the escape was made possible, citing security reasons, but said further risk had been mitigated.

Police said anyone assisting the men would be held accountable.

- NZPA