My hero of the week is Vege King owner Harjit Singh who confronted a shoplifter in violent altercation and declared afterwards: "If they harm my staff, I won't sit back and do nothing."

Good on him. It's a good thing that a man sticks up for himself. It's especially good for a boss to stick up for his staff. And it's heroic to stand up to bullies and thieves.

Singh is doubly a hero because he now risks prosecution for assault. The police Singh was relying on to protect him may well come after him.

The official advice seems to be to stand back and be robbed. And call the police. The double danger in confronting a thief is that you run the risk of a) coming under physical attack, b) being charged with assault, or (c) both a) and b).


But shopkeepers standing back still get bashed and worse.

In March, Jitish Arora had just opened his superette at 7.30am when "seven people came in very fast and hit me. They didn't ask me anything, they just hit me."

Arora got a severely broken arm blocking a baseball bat from striking his wife. He was bashed 30 times.

In April, store manager Chintan Patel was robbed twice in the same day by the same thief. The second time he was ready and pulled down the security door, trapping himself and the thief inside. He rang 111 only to be told to let the thief go. The police could not be there for 30 minutes despite the police station being across the road.

You would be excused for thinking it must have been rough area. It wasn't, it was Remuera Rd, Newmarket.

The advice of the 111 Emergency Response was to issue a trespass notice and send the thief on his way.

Quite why they thought a trespass notice would prove effective is a mystery.

But politicians are on to it, never fear: Minister Nicky Wagner suggests dairy owners stop selling tobacco and cigarettes.


She must have missed the memo explaining everyday people must make a living and pay taxes in the expectation that the Government will protect them from thieves and bullies.

Wagner's view appears to be the Government's failure is the victim's fault.

If we had a decent Opposition, Wagner's callous and stupid comments would have cost National this year's election. I can only assume that Labour and the Greens didn't seize upon her comments because they agree with them.

It's disgraceful.

Dairy owners are left without even the promise of help.

But Harjit Singh can hold his head high. He stood up for himself, and his staff, and for all of us. He stood against the thieves and the bullies, the police and the Government.


That's why he's my hero.