Warning: Graphic images
Witnesses have described the harrowing scenes of a random attack on people out for dinner on Auckland’s North Shore last night.
Police are investigating the circumstances of the incident, which resulted in multiple people being injured and taken to hospital after a man wielding a weapon entered three restaurants, Zhang Liang Malatang, Yue’s Dumpling Kitchen and Maya Hotpot, on Corinthian Drive, Albany, and started attacking members of the public about 9pm.
A 24-year-old man was arrested at the scene and is due to appear in the North Shore District Court this morning, charged with wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, which carries a maximum penalty of 14 years in prison.
Further charges are expected, Acting Detective Inspector Timothy Williams said.
Court documents show the accused is listed as living in Fairview Heights on the North Shore - about a five minute drive from the scene of the attack.
The man is due to appear at 10.30am.
St John said they were called to the incident at 9.04pm. Two ambulances and a rapid response unit went to the scene.
“We assessed and treated three patients - one in a serious condition transported to Auckland [City] Hospital and one in a serious condition and one in a moderate condition transported to North Shore Hospital.”
TVNZ’s Breakfast reported that the two people at North Shore Hospital were now in a stable condition, with minor injuries, according to a hospital statement.
A witness who asked not to be named told the Herald he was having dinner with a friend when a man wearing blue walked in carrying an axe.
“He walked in and hit my friend. He was the first target.
“I’m slightly injured. My friend got seriously injured. Only two of us got injured in our restaurant, but [there were] more wounded in the other restaurants.”
The witness suffered injuries on both of his hands after blocking an attack from the man involved.
‘I blocked his axe with my hand’
“I was in shock. When I realised what was happening, he tried to target me.
“I blocked his axe with my hand. He was also trying to target my head - so I blocked the axe with my hand.”
The witness said the attacker then chased him and his friend out of the restaurant.
“When he realised he can’t catch us, he just turned around and went into another restaurant and kept attacking.
“It was all very random. We all think this was random - no one knew him.”
The witness said he and his friend had been eating at the Maya Hotpot restaurant.
They watched in horror as the man involved walked into a second restaurant - Yue’s Dumpling Kitchen - and launched another attack on an unsuspecting person.
The witness said it was “very, very, very scary”.
“The customer who got seriously injured in this restaurant had his head down to his food, focusing on the food. There was no way for him to know this attacker was coming.
“He was hit - he was one of the ones taken away by ambulance.”
A second person who saw the incident said he heard the attacker say he had been beaten by someone and this was retaliation.
This witness said he had been seated at a table that looked towards the entrance and saw the attacker walk in and attack a person who had his back to the door.
“The guy at the front was eating. I saw [the attacker] come in with a f*****g hammer-axe thing.
“I was in the second shop targeted. I did what I did - gave the man first aid. I didn’t know there had been multiple victims ‘til [I] came out to help police put the guy in the car.
“Then I heard [a] guy here, guy there...”
The witness said of the attacker: “He was very, very calm when I told him to go. He kept coming at me.”
The witness also said the victim he helped was still conscious after the attack, but had a serious head injury.
“He was fully conscious and standing. But he had a big cut to the middle and front of his head.
“I helped also to do first aid on him. I was able to help press down [on the wound].
Another person told the AM Show this morning that it was a “crazy rampage assault”.
“I thought he had a beef with someone else. It was crazy with this f*****g massive hammer.”
At the scene this morning, police tape runs around the restaurant block and police officers remain on site. A number of workers have arrived not knowing about the attack.
Amy Chan, who owns Yum Yum Cafe across the street, said it was a shock that such a thing could happen in the area
“I guess we have to wait for the investigation results, and hope it is an isolated incident.”
Her restaurant was also broken into about two weeks ago. That happened at 3 o’clock in the morning.
A staff member from Yummy Mart arrived to find the entire cluster of shops, including the mini-mart, cordoned off.
She had worked there for about five years.
Maisy Chen, who works in an office near the restaurant, said this was one of her regular spots to have dinner after work. Last night was one of the nights she went straight home.
“I am just shocked to hear what happened here. People have been sharing videos on WeChat, I can’t believe what I
Isolated incident - Police
Police said initial enquiries suggest that this is an isolated incident and no one else is being sought in relation to this incident.
Police will be present in the area this morning as a wider scene examination is conducted.
Inquiries into the incident remain ongoing and Police would like to hear from anyone who witnessed the incident.
Additionally, if you have footage of the incident, please contact 105 quoting reference number 230620/0005 and the investigation team will be in touch.
Information can also be provided anonymously via Crime Stoppers on 0800 555 111.