Liquor work­ers scared

Central Leader - - Front Page - By Janie Smith

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.

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