A woman who saw a Whanganui shopkeeper being king hit has described the incident as "David vs Goliath".
The woman did not want to be named due to concerns for her safety but was nearby when the alleged assault happened at about 2.40pm on Wednesday at the Gold Coin store on Victoria Ave.
She said the encounter was like David vs Goliath.
"I saw a beautiful gentleman who pays taxes and works hard in our community get absolutely king-hit," she said.
"He was absolutely shocked. He's probably all of 50kg wringing wet. He was knocked to the ground and it was appalling.
"I turned around saying 'no, no, no' and dragged the gentleman away because I wasn't going to stand by. We need to look after each other in our community."
The alleged offender reportedly punched the shopkeeper following a dispute about shoplifting and while he was the only attacker, he was accompanied by associates.
Sergeant Mike Craig confirmed an assault was reported to Whanganui Police and they are following strong lines of enquiry.
"Obviously there was an argument around whether anybody stole something ... and then he has actually smacked the guy," Craig said.
The shopkeeper's face was swollen, but he suffered no serious injuries.
The witness to the alleged assault said the amount of shopkeepers being beaten in Whanganui was concerning her.
"People are going in, shoplifting and bashing them," she said.
"I shouldn't, as a tiny woman, have to be defending a man, but if I had to put my body on the line to protect him, I would have. This is not ok."