Police are hunting two men after busting what they believe was an illegal gambling den in one of Auckland's swankiest suburbs.
A third man has appeared in court after police stumbled across the den when they were called to a $1 million Parnell townhouse to investigate a break-in and serious assault in December 2013.
When they arrived, they say they found large gambling tables and smoke alarms taped over, prompting a year-long investigation by the Department of Internal Affairs.
This week, Auckland student Markus Grozdanovski and two other men, Jun Li and Xiaodong Xia, were charged with conducting illegal gambling.
Li and Xia also face charges of providing credit and equipment for illegal gambling, making a profit from illegal gambling and for allowing the townhouse to be used as a venue.
Grozdanovski was remanded on bail without plea and will reappear in the Auckland District Court this month.
But Li and Xia failed to appear in court and warrants are out for their arrest.
Gambling by a group of people is illegal if they offer a prize of more than $5000 and turn over a profit of more than $25,000 for commercial gain without a licence. Private gambling not for commercial gain is legal.
If found guilty, the trio face a maximum of one year in jail or a $20,000 fine.
The owner of the Parnell townhouse, who did not want to be identified, said she rented the property to Li in 2012.
She only became aware the property had allegedly been used for illegal gambling when police called her on the night of the break-in.
"I didn't have any idea of what was going on there. Each time I inspected the property it was absolutely perfect, there were even kids' toys lying around," she said.
The break-in and serious assault are not linked to the gambling charges.
The Department of Internal Affairs would not comment on a case before the courts.