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Thread: Street warfare

  1. #1
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    Default Street warfare

    Keep kids inside after dark, police tell parents
    Monday September 4, 2006
    By Elizabeth Binning

    South Auckland parents are being warned to keep their children home at night after two more street-gang incidents - one of which is likely to claim the life of a teenage boy. Police were called to the Otara Town Centre about midnight on Saturday after a security guard found two groups fighting. As they ran off the guard found an unconscious 17-year-old lying on the ground.

    The teen, who may have been caught up in the fighting unwillingly as he was walking through the centre, was so badly beaten about the head he is not expected to survive.

    Hours later police were called to another fight. This one was in Mangere where a teenager was left with a face so swollen it "looked like a rugby ball". The youth, also 17, underwent surgery yesterday. He is expected to lose the sight in one eye as a result of his injuries.

    Detective Senior Sergeant Gary Lendrum said the two fights were typical of the incidents Counties Manukau police had been attending recently. "It's street gangs, roaming around with weapons picking on each other. It's just got to a ludicrous stage. Every weekend we are having one. My advice to parents is to keep your kids indoors after dark in South Auckland. It's got to that stage."

    Mr Lendrum said police were still trying to establish which groups were involved in the Otara attack but it was believed there were up to 12 people. One group was already at the town centre when they were approached by another and fighting broke out.

    Mr Lendrum said there were unconfirmed reports the victim might be an innocent party who was passing by and got caught up in the fighting. "He might have been trying to get a taxi or bus home or something."

    In the Mangere case the victim is believed to have gone outside to help his younger brother who was fighting with a group of teenagers on the street. ?"According to the doctors he was bashed with something that pushed his eye back into his head," said Mr Lendrum. "I don't think he is going to lose his eye but they think he will lose the sight of his eye."

    Police are yet to determine what weapon was used in that case but Mr Lendrum said several were found on the ground afterwards - including a tomahawk and a case for a sword. A man who lives nearby said the fight had been building for a week since a family moved into the Ferguson St home. The house is at the intersection with Chadwick Cres which is home to a group of up to 20 teens who go by the name LBC (Lazy But Crazy).

    The man, who did not want to be identified, said the LBC boys roamed the street with their dogs and weapons, swearing at neighbours and looking for trouble. He feared further problems now the fighting had begun between the two groups. "Last night was just the start of it - it's not over, especially if one of their guys was injured. They will be seeking revenge."

    Mr Lendrum estimated between 200 and 300 youths were involved in South Auckland's streets gangs. "These kids arm themselves with anything they can get their hands on ... and they just wander the streets looking for other groups to attack. ?A lot of them are on active charges already and they seem to be just out there breaching their curfews. We are locking them up left, right and centre but it just doesn't seem to deter them."

    He is now calling for parents to start taking responsibility for their children, especially at night. ?"It comes back to their parents ... [They] have to start taking responsibility and finding out where they are and what they are doing and stopping them from going out at night."

    Challenge for 274

    The weekend attacks happened shortly after Friday's official launch of the 274 Youth Worker Project which was set up to keep South Auckland teenagers away from crime after a gang-related homicide in Otara last year.

    Len Brown, a spokesman for the 274 project, said he was disappointed to hear about the latest incidents as the project had been making good progress, especially in Otara. "It's very easy to get the impression the place is only lawlessness out here, but it's not. We think we are making some strong progress. "All [the latest attacks] does is just confirm we have got a major job and task ahead of us."
    Mother Bear

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    Default Re: Street warfare

    Front-line witnesses to our tide of violence
    Saturday September 30, 2006
    By Louisa Cleave

    Is New Zealand becoming a more violent society? Yes, says one group of people - and they should know. They are ambulance officers. They will be first on the scene when a party-goer has been bashed almost to death with a plank of wood, when a teenager has been struck deadly blows with a baseball bat, when a man has been dragged more than 2km under a car.

    The frontline staff say the violence they are seeing is worse than ever. Between 80 and 90 per cent of assaults now involve a weapon - usually a knife, metal piping or wood.

    "In the past we've always been to people who have been smacked over, but it's the level of violence we're seeing - the extreme nature of it where people are beaten until they're dead rather than punched and left to it," says Murray Holt, an ambulance team manager at Mt Wellington.

    Most of the injuries on a 20-year-old man at West Auckland party last weekend were caused while he was unconscious, police said.

    Ambulance staff believe the people inflicting the horrific injuries cannot comprehend what they are doing, or simply do not care. "They just don't understand what they're doing," says Carey Dobbs, team leader of the St John Ambulance Specialist Emergency Response Team. "They'll beat someone to death and . ... they don't appear to care, which is quite frightening."

    Mr Dobbs, who covers the South Auckland area, says that attitude exists in the youth gang culture.

    "My personal feeling is it's a culture of 'Let's blame someone else', 'It's my upbringing', 'It's a lack of money', 'I've got no education'. But I don't think people are taking personal responsibility for themselves so they get into this gang culture where this sort of thing is accepted, and it's an easy way out. You don't have to have any standards."

    The violence is also being aimed at ambulance staff, who are now likely to wait for a police escort before going into a private house where someone has been injured. Paramedics who went to a bashing at a party in Otara about three months ago were so frightened that they "threw" the patient into an ambulance and treated him down the road, says Mr Dobbs.

    "He was critically injured. He was dying, and he did die, and the crew who went there would have liked to have done a little bit more for him at the scene, but for their own safety they got out of it, and rightly so."

    Mr Holt: "There's a very real risk someone may deteriorate while we wait for a scene to be safe, but it's pointless having ambulance staff in there for them to become victims also."

    Leslie Ashwood, an advanced paramedic at St John's central Auckland station in Pitt St, said he would often treat assault victims aged 13 and 14 over a weekend. And during a weekend, he attends at least four assaults a night. "We took two away the other night who were both 14 and had been attacked with timber."

    Mr Ashwood was confronted by a 14-year-old with a knife in the Panmure shopping centre about 18 months ago. "A young boy came running across to the ambulance to say he'd been attacked. The next minute my partner and I and the young boy who had been attacked were confronted by eight to 10 teenagers with weapons. "If it wasn't for two taxi drivers who stopped to help us, I think the outcome could have been quite nasty."

    Ambulance team manager John Take has covered South Auckland for 18 years. "When I started people got punched up a bit, but now about 90 per cent of assaults we go to involve weapons of some sort, whether it's a piece of wood, baseball bat or someone's got a knife. I probably average four to five assaults a night shift and, of those, three to four involve weapons. Eighteen years ago, generally once people were on the ground they left them; now, they just keep going."

    The paramedics who spoke to the Weekend Herald all believed alcohol and drugs were a major factor in the level of violence. "Alcohol is the forgotten enemy," says Mr Dobbs. "Everyone talks about P and how bad it is, but alcohol causes huge problems."


    * September 23: A 20-year-old man is bashed at a party in Massey, suffering head fractures and a severely broken jaw that required a plate.

    * September 17: Gheorghe Simion, 39, a Romanian-born Mangere resident, is beaten with fists at the Mangere Town Centre as he waited for a supermarket to open. He dies in hospital from head injuries.

    * September 2: Riki Mafi, 17, is attacked with a metal baseball bat while walking through the Otara Town Centre. He dies several days later from head injuries.

    * July 16: Haruru Pekepo, 19, is shot dead during a fight between two groups of young men on a street in Otahuhu.

    * July 9: Kelly Lawrence, 18, is stabbed in the chest as he walks past a group of people gathered on the street after being at a party in Mangere.

    * August 18: Faatetai Lafolua, 24, is run down and dragged under a car in Otahuhu.
    Mother Bear

    Try to bloom wherever you are planted.

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