Family of a Hamilton dairy owner left with a fractured skull after being attacked with a machete are calling for armed robbers to get tougher sentences.
Emm Jay Dairy owner Sandip Patel was on the phone to his brother-in-law, Jay Patel, when one of the armed offenders slashed his head with a machete just after 8.30am yesterday.
He fell to the ground and the robbers raided the cigarette cabinet.
Sandip Patel was today still too shaken to speak publicly.
His brother, Sanjay, who also owns a dairy in the city, said he was a tough man but shocked by the events.
"He's still scared but he's a hard man because he's a black belt in karate."
He was recovering at home with eight stitches in his skull, along with stitches in both forearms and in the webbing of his hand.
The dairy's regular customers had been supportive of the family, with one dropping in flowers for the injured man and his wife.
He was keen to speak out after getting frustrated at watching offenders get pitiful jail terms only to be let out on parole after less than a year behind bars.
The maximum jail term for aggravated robbery was 14 years. But few were ever sentenced to that length of time.
He and Jay Patel, who owns a dairy nearby, said they'd had enough and want the Government to look at increasing the maximum penalty for aggravated robbery, as the current sentences didn't seem to be a deterrent.
Sanjay, who was the victim of an armed robbery at his Chartwell dairy four months ago, said they were now getting to the stage where they were all thinking of selling.
"That's what we're thinking ... it's not good, actually. The Government needs to set tougher laws, not soft laws ... because these laws are settled in an old era. Now the era has changed."
He said the laws seemed to focus too much on the rights of offenders, without taking victims into account.
"The Government needs to think about the dairy owners as well. Are they not humans? They are not animals."
Jay Patel was also angry.
"Right now we're paying the tax and we feed the bloody bastards ... by paying the tax. They're all out on the dole."
Sandip Patel has been in New Zealand for 10 years with his wife and two daughters.
One daughter was currently studying at Otago University and was distraught at the news her father was viciously attacked, his brother said.
"She was crying yesterday, the whole day, and no one there can look after her."
Sanjay said they came to New Zealand from India for a brighter future, but now they weren't sure if that was true anymore.
"We came here for peace of mind, but now it's changed ... we heard that when we came here that it's a low crime rate and everything but I think we've found that it's now a higher crime rate than in India."
Owning a dairy was one of the safest occupations in India, because if anyone dared steal money or any products, the community would carry out their own kind of "justice".
He said the rate of armed robberies in Hamilton was out of control, with two yesterday alone. A dairy on Rifle Range Rd was hit about 4pm.
"It's getting really, really worse ... It's going harder and harder now for us... especially in Hamilton, it happens too much."
Insurance companies were also clamping down. His brother's dairy was only today getting repairs done from a ram raid in November last year.
Sanjay said his dairy had been targeted by robbers four times in the past 15 years, while Jay had been hit twice, once by three armed men.
Hamilton police Detective Sergeant Scott Neilson said those responsible for the robbery were still being sought.
The car used in the incident was also still to be recovered.
Their inquiries are continuing.
Anyone with information is urged to phone police on 07 858 6200.