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Community backs brave shop owner

Thursday 20 Dec 2012 10:01 p.m.

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Police are investigating a botched burglary at a West Auckland petrol station after the attacker became the attacked.

Zahid Chaudhry was closing up when a masked gunman entered the store and demanded cash.

But the would-be robber got more than he bargained for.

Mr Chaudhry is healing from a deep cut to his nose, but that's likely nothing compared to his opponent. When he stormed into the former karate black belt's Swanson petrol station demanding cash, Mr Chaudhry didn't think twice about fighting back. He says he punched the armed man countless times and pushed him outside

“First thing that went through my mind – he want to rob me – and I stand up and push him very hard and then starting punching to him.”

The barrage continued onto the forecourt, where Mr Chaudhry managed to remove the gunman's mask, knowing he had cameras to film his face.

Mr Chaudry says he wanted to fight back to deter future attackers from targeting him.

“I am working here 14 hours a day, seven days, 365 days a year. I cannot give my money to somebody else. Go and work somewhere if you want money. Why you come to my place?”

Ms Chaudhry's daughter has uploaded the video to YouTube, and the family is urging customers to see if they can recognise the attacker.

Customers, including John Billing, have been congratulating him all day.

“I think it’s pretty marvellous, I think he's very brave to take on someone who was threatening and saying give me your money,” says Mr Billing.

The armed man was last seen escaping in a purple or burgundy Holden Commodore sedan. Police would like to speak to anyone who may know who he was or where he is.

And while the Swanson community keeps an eye out, Mr Chaudhry's confident there's one place the man will never visit again – his petrol station.

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