Others stood by while a young woman was being strangled and punched in her car, but five Auckland men took action to stop the attack, chase down the offender and restrain him until police arrived.

Barrie Olsen, Konrad Berking, Jason Sloan, Maina Papalii and Robert Lew today received bravery awards for their actions during a special ceremony at Henderson Police Station.

The men were playing video games at E-Loong Internet Café on Great North Rd, New Lynn in April when they heard a woman screaming, "Get away," and frantically tooting her car horn.

READ MORE: Praise for rescuers who chase and catch suspect accused of strangling a waitress


The 18-year-old waitress had just finished her shift at a nearby restaurant and was stopped in her car at a set of lights when the attack took place.

"We ran out the front and saw a black car with a guy getting into the driver's side and a girl half in the gear box and half in the passenger seat," said Mr Berking, 26.

"There was struggling going on - we could see him strangling the girl and she was trying to kick him and push him out.

"He had her by the throat and was pushing her around."

Not only did the men disrupt the attack and stay with the woman until emergency services arrived, but they also chased down the alleged offender who fled to a nearby car park, took off the overalls he was wearing and tried to mix in with a group of teens.

While one man called 111 and stayed on the phone to let police know what was happening, the others chased the alleged offender, kicked his legs from under him when he charged at them and then piled on top of him until officers arrived.

Today, Waitakere Police Area Commander Inspector Scott Webb praised the mens' actions.

"What stood out was the fact that it was not as if they happened to be passing by, they actually heard someone screaming for help so they went out and helped - and they did it sensibly, it was text book," he said.


"It was a combination of a bunch of guys who didn't have to do that and who were all level headed and did everything correctly."

Mr Olsen said the men were not expecting to get such high praise for their actions.

"It's quite humbling," he said. "The way it all unfolded [in April] was quite surreal, it didn't seem real."

Mr Lew said the men acted quickly, while others stood by and watched.

"It was quite fortunate for that lady that it happened right where we because everyone says they would jump in and help but you don't know until it happens and actually not everyone would act the same.

"There was some guys standing there just watching. They were just looking."

The men had stayed in touch with the victim who often came to visit them at the internet café where they had given her a car park so she felt safe in the area.

A 22-year-old Mt Roskill man was charged with assault with intent to rob in relation to the attack.