A Papakura business owner feared for his life as he was repeatedly beaten with bricks and robbed outside his restaurant.
Red Earth Eatery and Wine Bar co-owner Chris Turner is recovering in Middlemore Hospital with a broken rib and serious facial injuries including a fractured eye socket and multiple deep cuts after being brutally attacked at 11.20pm on Monday night.
Turner was finishing some administrative work at the restaurant on Papakura's main street when he walked out of his office into the corridor to meet face-to-face with five men and youths aged between 13 and 18.
His attackers, wearing dark street clothes and baseball caps, had walked through the back door which was open as Turner had been working on some displays in the back carpark.
Turner confronted them about what they were doing and they said: "What are you going to do about?"
The 32-year-old then told them to get out and they replied with the same question.
Turner said he shoved them towards the door and the group turned on him and started hitting and punching him with bricks they had hidden in their hands.
"There was one guy, the main leader of the group, who was the most violent, but I got the distinct impression they were all beating on me," Turner told the Herald from his hospital bed.
The young men, who he believed to be Maori, then dragged him out of the corridor and into the carpark at the back of the shop, giving him a gravel rash.
He was thrown onto the ground and they continued hitting and punching him with bricks.
A brick was hurled at his chest, cracking a rib.
As they attacked him, the leader of the group directed the others to go inside to steal things, while another stole the watch from Turner's wrist.
"There were four or five of them on me. I wasn't really in a position to fight back.
"At one point I thought this is attempted murder, this is not a violent robbery. They were going for me pretty hard and they weren't stopping. I feared for my life.
"They didn't stop until they left."
Blood was pouring from his eyes and his vision was foggy as he limped back into the building to call 111.
Turner was transported to Middlemore by ambulance where the deep cuts to his face required stitches and police spent Tuesday at Red Earth investigating and looking over CCTV footage.
Turner said the business had been fitted with CCTV cameras and he was not sure what else he could have done. "It's at the point where Papakura business owners need to arm themselves," he said.
"I hope they get them. It's really sad because there is a huge amount of really good people in Papakura. I've got some really great customers, some really nice people and then there's this other element that just run around and treat everyone like crap."
Turner said one of the alleged attackers returned to Red Earth on Tuesday morning, bragging to a staff member about how he had beaten and robbed his workmate. He then punched the worker, which was when police who were inside the restaurant for the investigation intervened and arrested him.
Police detective senior sergeant Karen Bright said an 18-year-old man has been charged with aggravated robbery and would appear in Papakura District Court on Wednesday morning.
Police conducted a forensic scene examination and inquiries are ongoing to locate the other men allegedly involved in the incident, she said.
Anyone with information that can assist police is asked to contact Counties Manukau Crime Squad on 09 261 1321, or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.