Asians targeted as house burglaries climb
Burglars are finding out where Asian business owners in Invercargill are living and stealing cash and jewellery from their homes.
The police reported in this month's Southland Multicultural Council newsletter: "It seems burglars are establishing where Asian business owners reside and are targeting their addresses, commonly taking cash, jewellery, expensive alcohol, and handbags/wallets."
Police were concerned by the "recent trend", and Asian business owners needed to consider the risks if they kept cash at their homes, the newsletter said.
Southland's area commander, Inspector Lane Todd, said the recent incidents were related to a rise in residential burglaries.
Police were pursuing a lead and talking to suspects, he said.
Mr Todd was not willing to say how many Asian business owners had been burgled because he did not want there to be a "fear factor".
Asian business owners needed to be more aware around security, making sure their homes were locked when they were not home, he said.
They should bank their cash rather than keep it at home, he added.
Southland Multicultural Council co-ordinator Violet Stewart said she was asked by police to include the warning in its newsletter, but had not heard of anyone who had been targeted.
Chinese Association Otago Southland chairman Jim Wong said no-one had reported incidents to him.
"If it is happening, it is a bit of a concern. I don't know who would do this kind of thing."
Hojong Lee, who manages the Hello Banana shop in Esk St, said he had not been targeted and knew of no Asian business owners who had been affected.
Despite the concerns, he said he liked Invercargill "very much".
Southland Chamber of Commerce chief executive Richard Hay said it was concerning that a specific nationality was being targeted by thieves. It was not a good image for the region, he said.
Mr Todd said members of the public who noticed suspicious behaviour should call Invercargill police or 111.
Anyone with confidential information could contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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