This is the terrifying moment workers at a South Auckland bottle shop fear for their lives as a band of armed thugs burst into their shop and hold up its defenceless shopkeepers at gun and knifepoint.

Security cameras inside the Thirsty Liquor Store in Otara capture the brutal invasions as the family-owned business is ransacked and cash and cigarettes stuffed into bags and pockets.

The latest shocking robbery - the second in just over three months - took place on Friday around 8pm.

Gurneet Mandeer told the Herald he didn't know at the time if he was going to make it out alive as the band of masked robbers stormed into the Everitt Rd shop brandishing a machete and axe.


The heavily disguised quartet wreaked havoc swinging their weapons wildly, smashing bottles before focusing on ushering the workers to the back of the shop while the till and cigarette cabinet is stripped of contents.

Mandeer estimated those in the group ranged in age from 18 to 25 years.

He said the well-rehearsed group didn't say much, barking orders at himself and shop manager Gagandip Singh to get into the back storeroom and to open the till.

"They just came in and come on to you. Two start stealing and two take control of the people."

He said it was a terrifying minute, and one that left him thinking it could be his last.

"When they got behind the counter it [the machete] could have hit me. Then when they made me go into the back I thought it could be the end."

He said it was a similar story in September when a group of four masked men stormed into the store holding Singh's mother at knifepoint and his father at gunpoint.

Security cameras captured the vicious raid where Jaswinder Kaur has the blade of a machete menacingly held across her throat and her husband Ravinder Singh a gun aimed at his head.

The group targeted the cigarette cupboard and till, with the money box wrenched out of the cabinet.

The robbers proceeded to stuff a bag and pockets with cash and cigarettes before fleeing.

Detective Senior Sergeant Albie Alexander, of Counties Manukau Police, said police were investigating the latest incident. The investigation includes reviewing forensic evidence and CCTV footage.

"At this stage, we do not believe the same offenders are responsible for both incidents (5 Jan and 19 Sept) and there is no indication to suggest the offenders are linked.''

Alexander called out the offenders and said officers would utilise all resources available to hold those responsible to account.

"Those committing these crimes have no respect for the property or victims they target.''

Mandeer said fortunately in both incidents those in charge of the shop were not injured but the trauma and loss of thousands of dollars worth of stock and cash was making them think twice about selling cigarettes.

"We would stop selling smokes if this keeps happening," he said.

Authorities are urging anyone with information to call Counties Manukau Police immediately: (09) 261 1321 or via CrimeStoppers Anonymous on: 0800 555 111