A young waitress used her karate skills to fight off two attackers as she walked home from a night shift in central Wellington, earning praise from police.
The woman, 18, has studied martial arts for seven years. She elbowed one man in the chest, then punched his accomplice in the stomach.
"We are well and truly impressed. Often we don't encourage people to fight back, because it can make things worse, but she acted with a great degree of bravery and she's done a great job," Detective Sergeant Shane Dye said.
"And she's not a big girl, either."
The woman was walking home past the old Amalgamated Video store in Taranaki St about 6.15 on Saturday morning, when she noticed a man leaning against a car, smoking a cigarette and watching her. Mr Dye said the woman told police the man grabbed her from behind as she passed.
"She's been doing karate for about seven years, so she elbowed him in the chest and stomped on his foot.
"She was then attacked by a second male who she hadn't seen, and he began to pull at her handbag – then she punched him in the stomach."
The woman fell to the ground as she fought off her assailants, and the first man came at her again while she was down.
"She kicked out at him and then managed to get to her feet and run away."
The first attacker was about 1.7 to 1.75 metres tall, about 30 years old, with light skin and "on the tubby side rather than muscular". He was wearing a smoky-green hoodie with a cream-coloured logo, baggy dark-blue jeans, and had close-cropped, slightly balding black hair, with stubble on his face.
The car he was leaning on was an older-style maroon four-door sedan.
The second man was tall and skinny with olive skin, about 35 years old, with long, dark, oily hair down to his shoulders, and a moustache and beard.
He was wearing a black zip-up jacket and jeans, and woollen gloves.
Senior karate instructor Sensei Rajesh Ravji was pleased to hear that the woman had used her skills to escape the attackers.
"When someone is bigger than you, it is always a difficult thing to combat, but that's the beauty of martial arts, you learn how. Those attackers would have been surprised to have someone come back at them like that."
- The Dominion Post