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

Ranui child abduction leaves West Auckland community on edge

Police are treating the investigation as a priority after a boy was abducted from near Ranui Station on Thursday.  Photo / Dean Purcell
Police are treating the investigation as a priority after a boy was abducted from near Ranui Station on Thursday. Photo / Dean Purcell

The abduction and sexual assault of a boy, 11, has left parents and schools in Ranui on edge.

The boy was abducted from Ranui Station Rd after getting off a train at that station around 3.55pm on Thursday.

He was walking home along the road when he was abducted by a man in a grey van.

Police said the investigation was being treated as a priority, with CIB and Child Protection Team detectives working on the case.

One mum, Neri Sipili who has four kids at Ranui Primary School, said it was worrying to hear of it happening so close to home.

Even though her eldest was 12, she always made sure to drop them off and pick them from school.

"That's why I'm always with them," she said.

A grandmother of two young girls, 7 and 8, who'd normally walk home from the school said news of what had happened to the 11-year-old prompted her to come and pick them up.

A mother with 7-year-old and 10-year-old sons at the school said it was "scary" hearing about the abduction.

She said she would be extra vigilant with them over the weekend.

Another mum, Vaita Timu, said it was an eye-opener for her, as normally her four girls, the oldest 11, walked home together while she was at work.

"We were just talking to them about being aware of strangers ... then this happened yesterday and it really, really scared me.

"I'm not going to let them walk home alone now."

A police spokeswoman told the Herald last night that the family of the abducted boy will not be releasing a statement at this stage.

A police appeal for public help had attracted good information, police say.

The child sex offender register team is looking into known offenders.

Police have received a number of calls from the public, but would not comment on the information received.

The man asked the boy for directions before driving him to an unknown location and sexually assaulting him.

"It's too early to say" how the boy ended up in the van, police added.

"He left the train station, went onto Ranui Station Rd and at some point there he's been abducted."

Police said these types of stranger attacks were rare in New Zealand.

The man then drove the boy back to Ranui and let him go.

He arrived home at around 8pm, four hours after he had been abducted.

The boy was recovering with his family at home.

Henderson Intermediate principal Wendy Esera said many schools in west Auckland had reinforced a stranger-danger message to pupils in the wake of the attack.

At yesterday's assembly, she addressed pupils on the importance of going straight home and keeping together.

Titirangi Primary has emailed parents, advising them about the attack and encouraging everyone to be on their guard.

In the wake of the attack, the Ministry of Education Ministry has sent an alert to every school and preschool in Auckland.

Detective senior sergeant Jason McIntosh said the police and Victim Support were doing everything they could to support them.

The offender had been described as driving a grey van, was by himself, and had stopped the boy to ask for directions McIntosh said.

Ranui is a semi-rural western suburb bordering the Waitakere Ranges.

Extra patrols were now in the area, and police were appealing urgently for information about the grey van.

Yesterday, they pored over security camera footage in an attempt to track down the man.
McIntosh asked anyone with information to contact him on 021 191 2659.

Information could also be given anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

What you need to do to keep your child safe

• Teach your child how to get safely to and from school and other places they go - whether they walk, bike or go by bus. Make clear rules about getting home.

• Go to school with your child so that you can show them the safest route.

• Point out places they can go for help when walking to and from places like school and the park.

• Teach the children to walk home together in twos or small groups, not alone. Make other arrangements if someone is away.

• Meet the parents of children in your area and keep in touch.

• Warn children about accepting rides or changing plans without your permission.

• Teach them the tricks would-be abductors use, such as offering money or asking for help.

• Encourage them to tell a trusted adult whenever anything or anyone makes them uncomfortable.

- Herald on Sunday

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