Black clad cops seek three men

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A major police operation is continuing in Queenstown on Saturday as concern grows for the safety of a 22-year-old local believed to have been kidnapped.

Queenstown police on Friday night said they wished to speak to former Southland rugby player Pita Wilson, 38, Joshua James Veint, 23, and Mark Taylor, around 17, in connection with the alleged kidnapping.

Armed offenders squad members visited a Frankton address in connection with the alleged offence.

Otago rural relieving area commander Inspector Olaf Jensen says police are also looking for Joseph Armstrong, of Queenstown, who is believed to be the victim, amid concerns for his safety.

A number of people have been spoken to in connection with the incident.

The wanted men should not be approached and anyone who saw them was advised to call police immediately on 111.

Police were also interested in the following vehicles: A white Toyota Hilux ute registration number HCL548, with sign writing saying ”A1 Auto Electric” and a white Suzuki saloon registration number SI8946.

A team continues to work on the case supported by specialist staff, Jensen says.

Wilson, who made the Southland squad in 2003 after a stint with North Harbour, was shot five times on the Gold Coast in a suspected gang-related incident in June 2006.

On Friday, the Otago Daily Times witnessed eight armed officers storm a small home on Frankton Rd at 7pm yesterday, using flash bangs. Other AOS members, all in full tactical gear and marked police patrol cars, raced towards Glenorchy.

They stopped about three-quarters of the way there and were still waiting by the side of the road when the ODT went to press late last night.

More than two dozen officers earlier held a 45-minute briefing at Frankton’s St John depot.

Nine marked police vehicles were in the car park, including a command van and dog unit vans.

Two marked cars with AOS members inside left the briefing and drove directly to the Frankton Rd house.

They entered the building with firearms raised. They are understood not to have detained anyone there.

Three other vehicles, two patrol cars with AOS officers and a dog unit, headed for Glenorchy before stopping near the Aro Ha Wellness Retreat.

They were joined by three other units. Within 45 minutes the cars had spread out and were staggered along the winding road.

Additional reporting, Vaughan Elder, Otago Daily Times