Chef detained at night market
The detention of a Thai chef at a popular Porirua night market has been blamed on a misunderstanding.
Immigration New Zealand is investigating the man, who was led away to a waiting car from the Tuk Tuk Thai Kitchen during the Porirua Food Truck Night Market on Thursday.
A witness said three men with ‘‘Immigration’’ written on their clothing took the man to a waiting vehicle about 5pm.
Tuk Tuk Thai Kitchen owner Daeng Neuang-Keo said there was probably a misunderstanding because the man had been helping out voluntarily during a busy time, and had not been working as a paid staff member.
‘‘It’s shocking to me,’’ NeuangKeo said.
‘‘I feel really sad. He was a very good guy, and we’re trying to do everything by the book.
‘‘He came to us looking for work and we hoped we could sponsor him because we’re looking for chefs.’’
She said the cook had been in the country about five years, but his work visa had expired, so he had been working with an immigration lawyer and waiting to get another one.
In the meantime, he had helped out voluntarily.
‘‘It’s very hard to find authentic Thai chefs. We tried training locals but they couldn’t do it.
‘‘A lot of people may not have been to Thailand, and maybe they only experience they have is at local restaurants, and that’s not always authentic.’’
Immigration NZ assistant general manager of compliance and border operations Peter Devoy confirmed a person was taken into custody at the night market.
He said he could not comment further for privacy reasons.
Porirua City Council, which promotes the night market along with the Wellington Food Truck Collective, said it was not aware of the incident.
Tuk Tuk Thai Kitchen owner Daeng Neuang-Keo.