Lincoln Tan

Lincoln Tan is the New Zealand Herald’s diversity, ethnic affairs and immigration senior reporter.

Cash grab from 'gambling den'

Five masked men armed with rifles invade house, bashing man and shooting dog to silence it.

Hamish Linklater, the previous owner of the Duke St house, says crime is rampant in the area. Photo / Steven McNicholl
Hamish Linklater, the previous owner of the Duke St house, says crime is rampant in the area. Photo / Steven McNicholl

Gunmen shot a pet dog and assaulted a man, leaving five others in shock during a violent home invasion at a property described by neighbours as a gambling den.

Six people, including two women, were playing cards in a Duke St, Mt Roskill house yesterday when five masked men, armed with rifles, burst in from the front and rear entrances about 1am and threatened them.

A brown-and-white collie dog was shot in an attempt to silence it, but is expected to live. One of the men playing cards was assaulted with the butt of a rifle and had to be taken to hospital.

Detective Sergeant Rick Veacock said the invaders took thousands of dollars in cash, jewellery and a black 2003 Toyota Camry saloon with the registration number FFB616.

"Although the offenders were wearing gloves and had their faces covered, they've been described to us by the victims as Maori or Polynesian males and they were armed with a hammer, a spade and three firearms," Mr Veacock said.

"I don't believe this was a random act, given the amount of planning the offenders would have done in terms of disguising and arming themselves."

Not all the victims who were in the house during the invasion were residents, but lived in southern and western suburbs.

Hamish Linklater, who sold the house to a Chinese buyer in 2009, said he believed the property had been rented out and was being used as a gambling den.

"You would see different cars parked outside the house, and they would leave in the early hours of the morning," he said.

"The house stands out on the street because it's usually the only one that remains lighted throughout the night."

Mr Linklater, 60, said the main occupants were a Chinese couple, who were in their late 20s or early 30s, and did not interact much with neighbours.

The accountant, who now lives a few doors down from the house, said crime was rampant on the street and the three properties he owned there had been burgled a few times over the past few years.

"You've just got to be really vigilant here, we forgot to lock the door one day and someone just walked in and took our iPad," said Mr Linklater, who has lived there for 14 years.

"We've had large screen televisions stolen, and I was even involved in a chase of would-be home invaders I found snooping around my property."

Another neighbour, who did not want to be named, said the people who visited the house were mainly Asian men who would stay there between 8pm and 3am.

It was busiest between Thursday and Sunday, and the eve of public holidays, she said.

The neighbour said a Chinese brothel also operated on the neighbouring Princess Street, and she had seen men going there after leaving the "gambling house". "I've peeped into the house one evening a few weeks ago, and saw nearly a dozen people playing cards on two tables with lots of cash on the table," she said.

Avondale Police and ESR scientists yesterday carried out a scene examination, and interviewed some victims with the help of Chinese interpreters.

- NZ Herald

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