Woman held hostage at knifepoint in mall
AUCKLAND: A woman was held at knifepoint for more than an hour yesterday at a South Auckland mall before the alleged offender dropped his weapon and was arrested by police.
Westfield Manukau was evacuated after a man grabbed a stranger and held a knife to her throat, sparking lengthy police negotiations.
The 34yearold victim, of Christchurch, had been at the shopping mall with her daughter.
Counties Manukau Area Commander Inspector Adam Pyne said the victim was not known to the offender and was ‘‘picked randomly’’.
Police were called at 8.50am to the hostage situation and were at the scene within minutes, he said.
‘‘The first officer on the scene immediately began negotia tions,’’ he said.
Police negotiated for about 40 minutes before the man dropped the knife, which had a 12.5cm blade, and released the victim.
The knife had been held to her throat and the armed offenders squad had been called, he said.
‘‘It took a long time but eventually they were able to defuse the situation,’’ he said.
‘‘The victim in this matter is understandably shaken but fortu nately was not harmed by the alleged offender.
‘‘I want to acknowledge the bravery of the victim in this incident, who remained calm in a stressful and traumatic situation and we are providing her with all the support we can.’’
The alleged offender was arrested and will appear in the Manukau District Court today charged with kidnapping. — NZME
Incident . . . A major Auckland shopping mall was evacuated yesterday when a man held a woman hostage with a knife at her throat.