A friend of Kunal Khera, the 26-year-old found dead in a burnt-out car in South Auckland on Saturday night, is expressing his shock and sadness at his former classmate's death.
Police today confirmed that the body found in a burning car on Chapel Rd in Flat Bush on Saturday night was that of Khera, from Manukau. Police, who have contacted Khera's family in India, are still treating the death as unexplained and continuing to make enquiries into the circumstances surrounding his death.
Kavrpal Singh, who studied towards a business diploma with Edenz Colleges alongside Khera, said he couldn't believe such a thing could happen to his friend.
"It was shocking to hear that he passed away," he said.
"[Khera] was a funny person, he was very nice and he liked to talk to people, always open, open-minded and a good heart."
Singh was told of Khera's fate by a friend yesterday. While Singh hadn't seen Khera recently, he was shocked to find out the body in the burnt-out car was his former classmate.
"I saw the news three days back, but I didn't think it had happened to my friend."
Following his time in Auckland, Khera had worked at Christchurch Airport. A woman - who wished to remain anonymous - who worked at Christchurch Airport and knew Khera, said it was sad news to hear he had passed.
"He was always so funny and cheeky and someone that talks a lot."
She estimated Khera started work with a rental car company in Christchurch about two years ago before leaving sometime last year.
Meanwhile, a South Auckland business owner threatened with a knife during a robbery two weeks ago now feels unsafe in his community after the discovery of the body.
Cheung was threatened with a knife as two men entered his store, held him down and stole up to 20 laptops, a mobile phone, some accessories and cash - all worth roughly $4000.
Cheung said one man, wearing a balaclava, entered the store about 3.30pm on February 24, brandishing what looked to be a kitchen knife and demanded Cheung drop to the ground and tell him where he could find laptops and money.
A frightened Cheung complied and was then held to the ground by another man, an associate to the knife-wielder, as the latter searched the store.
After about eight minutes, the two men left the store with their loot and drove away.
Cheung then reported the incident to police, but he hadn't heard back.
A police spokesperson confirmed the matter was under investigation, referencing how terrifying the incident must have been and that police are committed to holding those responsible to account.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Counties Manukau Police on 105, quoting file number 210224/9603.