Se­nior’s sav­ings taken in broad­day­light

Eastern Courier - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - LIU CHEN

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.’’

LIU CHEN / STUFF

Qingzhai Lyu, 85, lives on very lit­tle money as it is - and his fi­nan­cial sit­u­a­tion has got even worse.

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