Brutal attack on Chinese man in Auckland supermarket sparks calls for stronger hate crime laws in NZ

·3 min read

The Asian community in New Zealand are calling on the government to enact stronger hate crime laws following a racially motivated attack on a Chinese father in an Auckland supermarket.

The unidentified father was grocery shopping at Pak'nSave Albany on July 24 at around 8:30 a.m. when a man verbally and physically harassed him, reported The New Zealand Herald.

The father reportedly noticed a man staring at him as he approached the supermarket’s entrance. He thought he accidentally bumped into the man so he turned to apologize to him, but the man allegedly began to verbally harass him.

According to the victim’s daughter, the man hurled racist remarks at her father, including “go back to where you’re from.”

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When the father tried to ask the man what he had done to him, the altercation reportedly turned physical. The father was allegedly punched in the face and kicked in the head.

“He was trying to shield himself and ended up on the floor. The other man kept on kicking him and hitting him,” the victim’s daughter, a student of North Shore High School, told the Herald.

A witness reportedly called the police. The attacker also threw eggs at the victim before fleeing the scene. The father was reportedly covered in egg residue and had received punches and kicks to his head, chest, stomach and lower back.

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He was brought to a nearby clinic for assessment. He reportedly suffered multiple bruises to his head.

The father is a first-generation immigrant who was born in China. He has lived in New Zealand for two decades.

“It was really scary. Because this morning I was about to go with him,” his daughter said. “He was telling the police like he’s really lucky he didn’t bring me along.”

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“This is a shocking incident and a reminder that abuse or violence of any kind is not acceptable and will absolutely not be tolerated on our premises,” Foodstuffs NZ public relations head Emma Wooster was quoted as saying.

The police are currently investigating the incident and are calling on anyone with information to reach out.

“While we are in the very early stages of our inquiries, we are keeping an open mind into the motivation of this assault, including if it was racially motivated,” police told Newshub.

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The daughter of the victim noted the rise of racially motivated hate incidents in Auckland.

“At school as well, people are not afraid now to bully people that are from different cultures,” she said. “And they think it’s normal, because everyone around is also doing the same thing.”

The incident has prompted Race Relations Commissioner Meng Foon to call for stronger hate crime laws. He said the COVID-19 pandemic brought on a “remarkable spike” in racism directed toward the Asian community in New Zealand.

“That has quietened down, but it’s always been there,” Foon told the Herald. “And that is one of the primary reasons we really encourage the government to actually move on the strengthening of the legislation on hate crime.”

“We really need them to give more resources to the police. But it still comes with the legislation first. The police are powerless to actually bring the full brunt of the law,” he added.

The New Zealand government previously proposed to make changes to their laws governing hate speech last year. The proposal included designating new criminal offenses with harsher penalties and providing more protection for minority groups.

“This type of attack is not new to Chinese people,” Foon said. “Racism actually kills, and that’s why it’s very important that the Government gives law enforcement and the courts all the tools it can to actually stamp out racism.”

 

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