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Armed man points gun at children during robbery

By MORGAN TAIT

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An armed man pointed a firearm at two children during the aggravated robbery of a Hawke's Bay takeaway shop at the weekend.

Two men, one armed with the gun and one with a knife, ran into Racecourse Takeaways on Gascoigne St, Hastings, and threatened owner Shenyong Zhou and his family before making off with about $500 cash on Sunday night.

Mr Zhou, who owns and runs the shop with his wife, said his 18-month-old son and 3-year-old daughter did not understand what was happening and came to greet the men.

"It was a big, long gun like a farmer would use to kill animals," he said. "He pointed the gun to me and the other one held the knife to me. My children they are so young they didn't understand what was happening, they came out to say 'hi' and he pointed the gun to my children.

"That he used the gun to [threaten] me is no problem, but using the gun to [threaten] my little children is really dangerous."

He said the 7.40pm incident only lasted about 30 or 40 seconds, but has left his him feeling scared and vulnerable.

"The money I don't care about, it's just so dangerous. My whole family was inside here. I'm just thinking he will come back next time because he will think it's really easy."

Hastings Police Detective Senior Sergeant Dave de Lange said the potential for the incident to go wrong was "extreme". "We have huge concerns that people have firearms and are threatening people, including children," Mr de Lange said.

"It is very serious because a lot of businesses do involve family members being there on site, and when people are prepared to use that level and threat of violence it is a huge concern for police."

Mr Zhou and his family moved from Palmerston North a year ago to run the business, but were now doubting a future in Hawke's Bay.

"I do good food and do a good job to keep the customers happy, the customers are good people.

"My family and I just want to live happily every day in Hastings, but at the moment I feel it is no good, I can't do good business because these bad people might come back again," Mr Zhou said.

He would now close his store earlier at nights to prevent another robbery, he said.

"I just really, really think he will come back again."

Detective Constable Brendan Campbell said the men, described as Maori or Polynesian and aged between 15 and 25 years old, fled the store and left in a waiting vehicle. The dark sedan turned left on to Railway Rd towards the Hastings CBD.

To report information contact Detective Constable Brendan Campbell on 06 873 0500 or anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

- HAWKES BAY TODAY

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