Kiwis take to the streets over crime

01:43, Jan 31 2009
UNITED FRONT: Families and friends of victims of violence demonstrate outside Mt Eden Prison for tougher parole laws.

Protesters are taking to the streets over violence in the community as police hunt the killer of an 80-year-old woman in South Auckland.

Yin Ping Yang died in Auckland's Middlemore Hospital on Saturday afternoon after suffering internal injuries, including broken ribs, in a home invasion in Manurewa on Wednesday.

Police said she did not know her attacker but she described him as a Maori or Polynesian man, aged 30 to 40, dressed in a white T-shirt and black shorts.

Only 24 hours before Mrs Yang's death, about 500 people marched to "take back" their suburb and support the family of Navtej Singh, who was shot in a holdup of his Manurewa liquor store a week ago.

Yesterday, the Sensible Sentencing Trust joined families of victims outside Auckland's Mt Eden Prison and staged a demonstration for tougher parole laws.

The protesters were dressed in black-and-white striped mock prison gear to underline the theme of the demonstration - "Victims get life - Criminals get parole".


Organiser Garth McVicar said the death of Mrs Yang "just reinforced why we were there".

"There was a lot of emotion and people were talking about it and what is going on out there."

The Sensible Sentencing Trust will also be involved in a hikoi, or march, this month organised by Hastings councillor Henare O'Keefe, whose daughter was the victim of a home invasion last week. The eight-kilometre walk on June 27 has been dubbed "Enough is Enough! We are taking our community back!".

Among the demonstrators at Mt Eden was Rita Croskery, mother of murdered pizza delivery man Michael Choy, who said that while the families of victims were serving a life sentence, the prisoners were getting parole.

Police were under-resourced and criminals knew if they committed a crime they were unlikely to be caught. Those facing charges knew they would receive short sentences.

The march took place as police say they are considering putting armed patrols on Auckland streets to deal with the growing violence.

The proposal, following a top level police review, involves a six- month trial of armed patrols 24 hours a day, seven days a week. For the trial, police will be armed with Bushmaster semi-automatic rifles and Glock 9mm pistols.

Detective Inspector Mark Gutry said yesterday that the intruder who attacked Mrs Yang probably broke into her Saralee Drive home through an unlocked window about 5.50pm on Wednesday.

Mrs Yang shared the house with her son, daughter-in-law and their three adult children but they were all out at the time of the attack.

A spokeswoman for Counties-Manukau police said Mrs Yang's family were "too distraught" to speak publicly.

An autopsy today is expected to reveal more about Mrs Yang's injuries.

Police were still working on establishing a motive for the attack. It appeared nothing had been taken from the home and it is not thought Mrs Yang was sexually violated.

Police said the first Mrs Yang was aware of her attacker was when he approached her from behind and put his hand over her mouth.

He beat her up before bundling her into a wardrobe. She managed to scramble out before collapsing unconscious on the living room floor, where she was found by her son returning home at 10pm.

He thought she may have had a fall and drove her to hospital. When she regained consciousness the next day, she told him she had been attacked and police were called.

Mr Gutry appealed for anyone with information to contact police.  

- with NZPA

The Dominion Post