Attacker stabs dairy owner

By Lincoln Tan, Beck Vass, Mathew Dearnaley

The owner of an Auckland Lotto store and dairy is in hospital with stab wounds in his neck and back after being attacked late yesterday afternoon.

It was at least the fourth serious attack on an Auckland shop worker this year, and followed a police decision to charge a liquor retailer after an altercation with two youths this week.

In yesterday's attack, a man went into the Lotto store on New Windsor Rd in Avondale and stabbed the owner, said Inspector Karen Lane of the police northern communications centre.

Witnesses told the Herald the injured man was Shashikant Prema, aged 55. They said he had four stab wounds to the neck and back.

A woman in a next-door takeaway bar told NZPA she phoned police after the stabbed man staggered into her shop.

His alleged attacker, a teenage boy, stood outside and waited until police arrived and took him into custody.

The stabbed man was taken to Auckland City Hospital. Late last night, he was in a stable condition.

Ram Lochan, who owns a nearby superette on New Windsor Rd and knows the victim, said the man had been in New Zealand for about 20 years and had owned the dairy for about 15.

He had started selling Lotto tickets only last year.

Mr Lochan, 61, said he had been robbed four times, and he was concerned that shopkeepers were not allowed to protect themselves.

"When we protect ourselves, we get charged - and if we don't we get stabbed. What do we do?" he asked.

Yesterday, the owner of the Gilbert Road Discount Liquor outlet in Otara was charged after an altercation on Tuesday night with two youths who entered his shop.

Varinder Singh was charged with injuring with intent to injure.

Last night, New Windsor residents were shocked at news of the attack in the Lotto shop/dairy.

Customer Kumar Vanga said: "Absolutely shocking. This is happening too close to home."

Rao Vanaguntla said: "What's happening to New Zealand when it's not even safe for someone to run your own small business?"

While police were investigating the stabbing, they were called to a store in nearby Bremner Ave, Mt Roskill, where two youths threatened a shop owner with a knife.

Inspector Lane said no one was injured, and the two offenders had fled.

UNDER ATTACK
* January 22-year-old student Krishna Naidu stabbed to death while working in his family's dairy in Clendon, Manukau City.
* June Father-of-two Navtej Singh shot in the chest with a .22 rifle during a raid on his liquor store in Riverton Drive, Manurewa, and died the next day.
* July Xu Mei Ying, 46, shot in the arm while working at her family's dairy in New Lynn.

- Mathew Dearnaley, Beck Vass

- NZ Herald

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