A young boy was walking to school when he shrugged off a man who had followed him and then tried to grab him on a busy Hamilton street.
Hamilton police were yesterday praising the 10-year-old boy for doing the right thing, but were also appealing for witnesses to the near-abduction.
Detective Sergeant Neville Ross of the Hamilton CIB said the incident happened on Morrinsville Rd between 8.30-8.45am yesterday in Hillcrest, when the boy was accosted by a man who had been following him in a car.
"The driver has pulled alongside the boy a short distance from the roundabout at the intersection of Morrinsville and Cambridge Roads, the man got out of the car and began following the boy on foot, when the boy tried to run away the man chased, grabbing his arm."
Mr Ross said the boy managed to shrug off his attacker and flee, running to get help and raising the alarm.
The boy's school called police not long after.
"We're very concerned at the nature of the attack and are seeking witnesses who may have noticed a man chasing or grabbing the boy at a time when there was peak-hour traffic," said Mr Ross.
The man is described as a Maori or Pacific Island male aged in his 40s of medium build, about 1.8m tall wearing a black-hooded sweatshirt with the hood up.
He was also wearing blue jeans and white shoes with long straight black hair and was driving a green-brown-coloured old model car.
"Police view this incident very seriously and we commend the boy for the action he took. Officers have been working with the school and a notice to parents advising them of what has happened is going home with students today," said Mr Ross.
Waikato Principals' Association president Pat Poland said parents needed to ensure their children knew what to do if they were approached by a stranger.
"They need to get away as quickly as possible, then to get help, if they can get a registration number of the car great - if they can't get away the child should be told to yell and yell and yell and yell until someone takes notice."
He said kidnapping incidents were rare and it was important parents did not become overprotective because of it. "The children should be walking to school whenever possible but just trained in terms of looking after themselves with safety issues."
Mr Ross said it was important for parents and caregivers to reinforce the "stranger danger" messages and ensure their children were not left alone to fend for themselves.
* Reinforce stranger danger message.
* Tell children to get away.
* Tell them to yell as loudly as possible.
* Don't over-react by stopping children walking to school.