A man has been charged in relation to the alleged theft of an 85-year-old refugee's life savings and passport while he was gardening at his home in Auckland.

Lu Qing Zhai, of St Johns in East Auckland, lives on superannuation and what more he can earn by growing and selling Chinese vegetables.

He had been saving for a trip to visit his two daughters in Australia and an autistic son in China.

Lu Qing Zhai lost cash, his passport and Eftpos card in the alleged burglary. Photo / Greg Bowker
Lu Qing Zhai lost cash, his passport and Eftpos card in the alleged burglary. Photo / Greg Bowker

But on October 31 his unit was burgled, it is alleged. He lost his wallet containing about $700 cash, a mobile phone, his passport and an Eftpos card. About $3000 was withdrawn from his bank account and the card was used to buy $50 of fuel at a petrol station.

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"It's all the money I have and I took a long time to save it, so I feel really crushed," said Lu.

"I've been saving to visit my children and grandchildren for Chinese New year. They are the only family I have."

Lu Qing Zhai had been saving to visit his children and grandchildren for Chinese New year. Photo / Greg Bowker
Lu Qing Zhai had been saving to visit his children and grandchildren for Chinese New year. Photo / Greg Bowker

The police said today that a man aged 28 had been charged in relation to the alleged burglary at the Merton Rd property.

"He has been charged with a total of 21 offences relating to a number of separate incidents including multiple burglaries and dishonesty offences."

The man is scheduled to appear in the Manukau District Court on December 11.