A link between a bleach attack on a regional council employee and a warning about a violent gang initiation ritual has been dismissed as an internet hoax.
Police continue to investigate the attack on the Kerikeri 45-year-old, who had a knife held to his face and bleach thrown in his eyes after he pulled over on June 10 for a car which had repeatedly flashed its lights behind him. A number of possible motives are being examined.
In the wake of the attack, a warning not to pull over for any vehicle flashing its lights has been circulated via email and Facebook. It claims a gang initiation rite requires prospective members to pull a car over and shoot its driver.
The same fake warning has been circulated in different forms for almost 20 years. One of the current versions purports to come from Chubb Security.
Police National Headquarters spokesman Grant Ogilvie said police first issued a warning about a version of the message in 2008. "The message is a recurring hoax and should be ignored.
"Variations on the message have been circulating for many years and re-appear every so often."
Mr Ogilvie urged anyone who received the message to delete it and inform anyone forwarding it that it was a hoax. Police have, however, urged reasonable caution when motorists are signalled to pull over by another vehicle.
Senior Sergeant Peter Robinson of Kerikeri advised anyone being followed by another vehicle flashing its lights to wait for a safe place with plenty of visibility and other people around before pulling over.