Police caught a kidnap suspect, and lost him less than 24 hours later when he escaped by pretending to be another prisoner.

The kidnapping was solved in secrecy - a news blackout was imposed and the operation was kept off police radios because of the sensitive nature of the investigation.

But yesterday the accused man, Ollies Siaea, walked out of court by claiming to be another prisoner who had been granted bail.

This morning police were hunting for Siaea, who they warned was dangerous, and his alleged victim was under police protection.

A 111 call alerted police to the alleged kidnapping of a 24-year-old Cambodian man on Wednesday night.

Court documents allege the Cambodian man was carried off by several men. Within 24 hours police negotiated his safe return.

Yesterday Siaea, 31, appeared in the Manukau District Court, charged with kidnapping the man from his Papatoetoe home to hold him for ransom.

Judge Charles Blackie refused bail and remanded Siaea in custody because of the serious nature of the charges.

Detective Senior Sergeant Karyn Malthus told the Herald that Siaea escaped by walking out of the door of the holding cell, pretending to be another prisoner who was to be released.

He even signed the bail bond under the different name.

Ms Malthus said Siaea looked similar to the bailed prisoner.

"He's put his hand up, signed someone else's name and left.

"We're investigating whether there was an accomplice, stupidity or intimidation."

She said police had concerns for the victim and his family.

"They're back with us and being looked after by police to make them secure."

Detectives are still investigating the abduction and further charges are expected to be laid against Siaea's accomplices.

It was not clear whether police or Corrections Department staff were responsible for Siaea when he escaped.

The alleged victim was not home when the Herald visited yesterday, nor did anyone answer at Siaea's home.

The escape is the third blunder involving police this week.

On Thursday, they admitted a "monstrous mistake" was made when a camera containing graphic images was left at a Lower Hutt house. At least 16 people were identifiable in the pictures, which included photos of dead bodies and domestic violence victims.

On Wednesday, it was revealed that police left a restricted document with members of the Mongrel Mob during a raid last month.

The document detailed an investigation into the intimidation case and eviction of 10 members of Anthony Pairama's family from five state houses in Farmer Cres, Pomare.

The document included details of the woman whose complaint of intimidation sparked the police investigation, and details on a senior Housing NZ staff member involved in the eviction.

- additional reporting by Beck Vass