'No police' fight arranged on Facebook

JOHN EDENS IN QUEENSTOWN
Last updated 12:00 17/08/2012

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Police in Central Otago are monitoring Facebook today as youths involved in a rugby match brawl a week ago plan an arranged ‘‘no weapons, no police’’ fight.

A brawl erupted at a youth game in Wanaka last Saturday between an Upper Clutha under-16 side and a Cromwell under-18 side at the Upper Clutha grounds.

A formal complaint was sent to the Otago Rugby Football Union, who are considering whether to open an investigation.

Senior sergeant Allan Grindell, of Wanaka, said the saga continued and groups of young people from Cromwell and Wanaka planned an arranged fight this weekend, using social media website Facebook to discuss ‘‘no weapons’’ and ‘‘no police.’’

There was no confirmed location but police were aware of the online activity, officers were monitoring Facebook and police had several names to investigate, Mr Grindell said.

‘‘We haven’t got a location as such. This sort of anti-social behaviour won’t be tolerated," he said.

‘‘It’s zero tolerance. We’ve got a few names, we’re trying to look at a few of these people.’’

He said police received a tip-off about the discussions on Facebook but it was not clear whether the names police were given related to the organisers.

Officers would be sent to visit some of those involved in the Facebook discussion and give them a stern message.

Potentially, posting online about an arranged fight could lead to charges of inciting or conspiring to incite violence, he said.

A player was injured and the Upper Clutha club changing rooms were damaged during the mass brawl towards the end of last Saturday’s game.

A 16-year-old Cromwell youth who punched a Wanaka teenager in the face was arrested for assault but dealt with by youth aid.

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