Living in fear of the Mob
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.
Forced out: Gang intimidation has made Simon Buckingham flee his flat in fear.