Senior’s savings taken in broaddaylight
An East Auckland pensioner is living off borrowed money after his life’s savings were robbed in broad daylight.
Eighty-five year-old Qingzhai Lyu was tending to his vegetable garden when his mobile phone, passport and savings were taken from his St Johns home.
At around 4pm on October 31 Lyu returned to his unit from the garden and thought about calling a friend.
However, his mobile phone, left in the bedroom, was nowhere to be found.
Lyu then realised his wallet was missing as well. In it, there were ANZ and ASB bank cards, as well as $210 cash, which he just withdrew from the bank on the morning as it was his pay day.
The next day before he left to report the loss of the bank cards, he found his New Zealand passport was gone.
By using his old Chinese passport, he managed to get new cards from both banks.
What stunned him was there was only a few dollars left in his ASB account when he tried to pay for a new mobile phone at a Botany Town Centre store.
‘‘I felt very sad. It has never happened during my 11 years here in New Zealand,’’ Lyu says.
‘‘What shall I do? I don’t even have the money for food now.’’
ASB records show that on the day of the burglary theft a total of $1200 had been withdrawn from the account at two different times, while another $50 was spent at Mobil Swanson.
‘‘My pin number was my birthday date. They must have figured that out with my passport,’’ Lyu says.
He has borrowed $400 from three neighbours for daily expenses and a new phone, allowing him to keep in contact with friends, and family members overseas.
Lyu came to New Zealand in 2007, later gaining residency as a refugee. He relied on charity grants for living, and was only able to save some money when he started getting superannuation from July, $600 a fortnight.
His wife passed away in China 12 years ago. He has three daughters living in Australia, a son in China, and an adopted daughter in the United States.
He visited Australia and China in July and August, an important trip after years of being apart from his family members, relatives and old friends.
The theft of the mobile phone saddens him even more because there were lots of photos taken during the recent trips, and the savings would have been useful if he was able to visit them again in the future, Lyu says. ‘‘It’s all gone.’’
He was told by police on November 9 that their investigations are continuing.
A police spokesperson confirms that a complaint relating to this incident was received on November 2 at the Glen Innes police station.
‘‘The file is in the hands of our investigation team who are working through the information received,’’ police say.
Lyu still goes to central Auckland every morning, works in his garden, cooks for himself and meditates at night.
‘‘I’ll have the [pension] money on the 13th,’’ Lyu says, in a positive tone.
‘‘This is a lesson for me. When you’re not in your home, you must lock the door.’’
Qingzhai Lyu, 85, lives on very little money as it is - and his financial situation has got even worse.