Liv­ing in fear of the Mob

Central Leader - - Front Page - By Janie Smith

GANG in­tim­i­da­tion has forced a man to flee his One­hunga flat, leav­ing him home­less.

Si­mon Buck­ing­ham has been a ten­ant in the block of Hous­ing New Zealand flats on Wade St for two years, be­fore threats from a Mon­gel Mob mem­ber forced him to leave.

He is now left wait­ing for Hous­ing New Zealand to find him new ac­com­mo­da­tion.

“I’m ab­so­lutely pet­ri­fied. There comes a time when you’ve got to say stop.

“Too many peo­ple are keep­ing their heads down and not say­ing any­thing.”

Mr Buck­ing­ham says a fam­ily liv­ing in a nearby block of flats got the idea that he had re­ported their chil­dren to the po­lice af­ter he caught them try­ing to break into his car.

Other res­i­dents in his block had also started a pe­ti­tion against the fam­ily and put his name on it with­out his knowl­edge.

On June 11, the fa­ther of the chil­dren, a Mon­grel Mob mem­ber, stood out­side Mr Buck- ing­ham’s flat and ver­bally abused him.

He then threat­ened to call other gang mem­bers to the ad­dress.

“I called the po­lice. They sug­gested I get out and stay out,” he says.

Mr Buck­ing­ham was able to stay with a friend but re­turned to his flat sev­eral days later to dis­cover it had been bur­gled.

“They tagged the wall and took things to be in­tim­i­dat­ing.

“They took all my knives, most of my bed­ding and clothes but didn’t take an LCD com­puter screen or printer.”

Since then, he has been too scared to re­turn.

Mr Buck­ing­ham has two young daugh­ters, one of whom is autis­tic, who stay with him on week­ends and for part of the school hol­i­days.

He is un­able to have them while he has no proper ac­com­mo­da­tion.

“I’m break­ing the court or­der by not hav­ing them. Their mum has been fan­tas­tic about it.

“I’m so lucky with the friends I have, oth­er­wise I would be liv- ing in my car,” he says.

He says Hous­ing New Zealand told him he only qual­i­fied for a onebed­room flat, which is un­suit­able for when he is look­ing af­ter his daugh­ters.

Mr Buck­ing­ham is study­ing full­time to be ad­mit­ted to the bar as a lawyer and says he is still hav­ing to pay for his One­hunga flat, even though he isn’t liv­ing there.

Hous­ing New Zealand’s south Auck­land re­gional man­ager Mad­ha­van Ra­man says the or­gan­i­sa­tion is aware of Mr Buck­ing­ham’s sit­u­a­tion.

“We are work­ing closely with him to find a new home in a more suit­able area. Hous­ing New Zealand has asked for fur­ther doc­u­men­ta­tion from him which will then al­low us to place him on the wait­ing list for a twobed­room home.

“We can’t say how long it will take to find him a home but we ex­pect it to be in the near fu­ture.”

Po­lice have is­sued the man Mr Buck­ing­ham says threat­ened him with a tres­pass no­tice.

Photo JA­SON OXENHAM

Forced out: Gang in­tim­i­da­tion has made Si­mon Buck­ing­ham flee his flat in fear.

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