Liquor workers scared
LIQUOR store workers are afraid for their lives after a fatal store robbery and other serious attacks.
Balvinder Singh and his 21-year-old son were attacked last month in their Three Kings Liquor Store by two men brandishing broken bottles.
He says being back in the liquor store is a “very bad feeling”.
“I’m very scared. I don’t feel good now. It’s very dangerous.”
The 55-year-old was cut so badly during the attack he needed a life-saving blood transfusion.
He says the fatal shooting of liquor store owner Navtej Singh in Manurewa last week is saddening.
“He gave the money, he gave everything and they still shot him. It’s not good.
“Everyone working in liquor stores is very scared, it’s a very unsafe feeling.”
Since the Three Kings attack, Mr Singh has started closing the store two to three hours earlier than usual and has hired an extra person to work in the evenings.
He says the early finish and extra staff member is costing the business money, but helps with security.
“It’s too risky now. It’s very dangerous everywhere.”
He does not work full time in the store but drops in when needed and is still recovering from his injuries.
His son has stopped working there while he completes university exams.
Mr Singh says he is considering selling his business in the future.
The Portage Licensing Trust has liquor outlets in Avondale, Waterview, Blockhouse Bay and Owairaka.
West Auckland Trust Services chief executive Murray Spearman says the stores have a range of security measures in place, including closed circuit television.
“We have fairly extensive security precautions, but nothing will ever stop what we saw in south Auckland if someone is intent on pulling the trigger.”
He says all staff go through armed hold-up training to learn how to react in such a situation.
“The overriding principal is that their lives are far more important than our money or stock.
“They must make sure they comply and do what they are told.”
Mr Spearman held a meeting with store managers after the south Auckland shooting.
“The feedback I got was ‘Thank goodness we have all we’ve got in place’,” he says.
He says people who work in places like liquor stores, service stations and dairies are aware of the potential danger.
The trust brings in independent security professionals to review each store’s safety measures and make recommendations if needed.
Seven people have been arrested on charges including murder, aggravated robbery, armed robbery and firearms offences relating to the Manurewa shooting.
Detective sergeant Geoff Baber says police are continuing inquiries into the Three Kings incident.