Morgan Tait is the NZ Herald's police reporter.

Asian attack victim: 'I started bleeding and begged them to stop'

Victims of serious assaults on Asian students in Auckland.
Victims of serious assaults on Asian students in Auckland.

After being punched and kicked to the ground, having his head stomped on and a screwdriver held against his throat, a Chinese student desperately tried to offer his attackers cash so they wouldn't take his most valuable possessions - his laptop and schoolwork.

The man was left with a broken nose, chipped teeth and full body bruising after he was set upon by two teenagers while walking to Unitec's Mt Albert campus on Thursday morning, just a month after moving here to study.

The violent attack was one of four on six Asian students in the city last week, and came just days after two Chinese women were beaten and robbed by six teens as they walked through Albert Park from the University of Auckland to their bus.


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Police are still hunting the six offenders believed to be behind the Albert Park attack, after arresting 10 teens in relation to the other three incidents.

Speaking to the Herald, the victims - who are too scared to be identified - say they don't want to go anywhere alone now and will likely cut short their time in New Zealand.

Using the pseudonym Mickey, the Unitec student described how he yelled for help as the two young men beat and robbed him.

"They threatened me and told me to give them my backpack, but I had my textbooks, assignments and laptop inside, so I refused. I kept shouting 'help, help' and holding the bag tightly around my arms but unfortunately there was no one around.

"I started bleeding and begged them to stop. I tried to escape but they pursued me. They kept punching and kicking me and even held a screwdriver against my throat."

The Albert Park victims, using the names Ann and Lee, described their fear and helplessness as a group of six teens attacked - knocking Lee, 25, unconscious and stealing 24-year-old Ann's handbag.

"I was really angry and wanted to fight back, but I tried to stand up and he punched my face and a girl started kicking my legs," said Ann.

"I managed to get away, but then I didn't want to leave my friend because I couldn't imagine what would happen if she was there with six people."

They were told that Albert Park was a great place to relax close to campus and were not warned of any dangers, so never suspected the teens walking towards them would soon knock one of them unconscious in the violent attack.

The group even stole their shoes, used Ann's bank and bus cards throughout Auckland and took prized possessions that were gifts from her family.

"I just want to know why this happened to us, we already went together across the park and it was just at 8.30pm, not late. We didn't know that Albert Park was a dangerous place, in Orientation they told us it is a really nice place if you need somewhere to go for alone time and to relax."

All three victims told the Herald of their fear, as well as their concerns about getting to night-time lectures and exams.

"I am still feeling very scared," said Mickey. "Actually I don't dare to walk outside either alone or with friends, no matter if it is daytime or night.

"During the first few days I had nightmares about this incident, I cannot sleep."

Ann, whose husband has had to change his shifts at work so he can escort her to campus, agreed: "I really like running so I have been running a lot outside and through parks, but after this I don't go outside. My classmates have told me that they are afraid to go home alone."

Lee has changed the length of her course so she will return to China three months earlier than planned.

The students said they chose to come to New Zealand to study because they thought it was safe, but had experienced other intimidation and abuse since they had arrived.

Walking in the central city, Lee, Ann and their friends have been subjected to racial abuse yelled by passersby and robbery attempts where they have had to wrestle their own bags off thieves. One friend has also been pushed over while crossing the street.

"I chose here to study not because the tuition fee, it is very high, but because it I thought it was the safest place in the world," said Ann.

"I want to live here a long time and use Mandarin and English to help build business between New Zealand and China."

Mickey said he had lost trust in Auckland.

"I had heard some negative news about Auckland before and now that I have been attacked and have heard about several similar attacks in the same week I do not have a lot of confidence living in this city any more.

"I hope those who attacked me and others could consider how amazing their country is. In this world, there are so many others dying because of poverty, diseases and wars every day. I do not understand why they do not cherish their life in this beautiful place."

Lee agreed.

"[The attackers] maybe can have a good future if someone gives them the right direction, and it could also affect the country's future. I really like New Zealand because of the weather here, and the air and the water is so clean and there are a lot of trees and I want to have a home here, but if one place has a good environment and doesn't have good people, I think it is not good."

The attacks came just a week after two men were seriously injured in a number of brawls in downtown Auckland, raising questions about safety in the city.

The Chinese community have voiced major concerns about the safety of people living and visiting here, and held a public meeting at the University of Auckland last night with police, Auckland Council and local MPs speaking on the issue.

Police Deputy Commissioner district operations Grant Nicholls said there was a concerted effort to make police more visible across the country, and that there was enough being done to address the issues.

- NZ Herald

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