Violent crime protest: 'If murder is not serious, what is?'

By Michael Botur

Photo / Michael Botur
Photo / Michael Botur

High profile violent crimes against dairy owners boiled over into frustration for the Manukau Indian Association today.

Forty supporters of the Association stood in solidarity in Manukau Square, holding signs saying 'If murder is not serious, what is?' and 'We are really worried.'

The demonstrators shared stories of victimisation and called for protection to come from Parliament.

Association President Veer Khar has been collecting statements from political parties about how they will respond to crimes against small business owners, which Mr Khar believes are escalating. A lack of police response empowers criminals, Mr Khar said.

"You see Arun Kumar? He was killed for $20 to $50 of money and some juice," he said.

Mr Khar linked the killing of the Henderson shop owner with an armed robbery of a Carruth Road superette and the videotaped gang bashing of a Highland Park liquor store worker.

"The Greens are sleepy, they don't realise what's happening; National's statistics [showing reduced crime] are wrong. Arun Kumar's family need a response."

"We are saying 'Hey: please hear us.' We want lawmakers to respond; judiciary need to be given instructions on how to punish."

Mr Khar called for shop owners to be visited by Auckland Council, who could install fog machines or feet-activated alarms. Until then, "We are at the mercy of criminals. They could kill 10 [people] and the country would still be sleepy."

The 40 mostly male demonstrators gathered in a circle without leaving the square.

Mr Khar said today was "just a token demonstration. We will come out in thousands if there is no response [from parties] in two weeks."

Mr Khar and others held placards reading "All we want is to stop Aruns and Pauls getting killed," referring to Takanini pawn shop victim Paul Fanning.

Keshar Govind's Papatoetoe superette was robbed a year ago by three armed men. His wife was working alone in the store at the time. "They had a gun and could have used it," Mr Govind said.

Police haven't revealed to Mr Govind the names of the offenders who will face court charges this August. Mr Govind has been re-victimised by shoplifters since the robbery. "People like us can't do anything about it."

Arvind Patel said he has been a victim of 10 crimes in as many years. His Carruth Road superette experienced an armed robbery on July 8 at 8am. In this and other incidents, Mr Patel has felt frustrated because supplying the licence plates of offenders' vehicles hasn't resulted in the crimes being solved.

"Police came 10 to 15 minutes [after the robbery]. They fingerprinted and took the footage -- but no one's contacted me from police since."

Narinder Singla linked attacks on small business owners with the Counties Manukau Police who reclassified crimes around 2012. "The stats seem low -- but in day to day life, crime is high. Small crime is not reported, but the crime is not less."

- APNZ

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