Taggers with black masks, some wearing GoPro cameras, attacked a train in Auckland today, delaying it for about 15 minutes at a station while they applied paint.
The doors remained open throughout the attack at the Puhinui Station, leading to a strong smell of fumes from the taggers' cans of spraypaint.
Passenger Jacob McConachie-Grant said at least five young men were involved in the incident.
They entered the area of the train tracks through a hole in a wire fence and got to work on that side of the train, painting, McConachie-Grant believed, most of the carriages.
He said some were wearing hoodies and had the hoods up around their heads, while others obscured their faces with bandannas. Some had GoPro-type cameras on their heads and one camera was set up on a tripod apparently to film the tagging.
Some passengers, annoyed at the delay, temporarily left the train intending to confront the taggers, but were prevented by security officers from doing so.
An Auckland Transport spokesman said two of the three carriages in the train, which was on its way to Britomart, had been tagged. The train had since gone to the Wiri train depot to be washed.
"It appears the offenders cut the fence opposite the train platform.
"... this vandalism is totally unacceptable and is a cost to the ratepayers of Auckland.
"We will work with the police on this and all vandalism issues."
The incident is the latest in coordinated tagging attacks on Auckland trains.
Four vandals were captured on video tagging an Auckland Transport train at Swanson while filming the attack on GoPro cameras in January last year.
Their faces were also covered up and the incident was referred to police.
An Auckland Transport spokesman at the time said trains were treated with a film so tags could be easily washed off.
The cost of vandalism and other damage to the trains was around $500,000 per year.
"This vandalism is a cost to ratepayers and we do pursue cases through the courts," he said.
"These idiots are wasting everyone's time and money."
Tagging is typically subject to a charge of wilful damage, which carries a maximum sentence of three months imprisonment and/or a fine of $2000.