Liquor store keeps doors locked after robberies

Liquor store keeps doors locked after robberies

An Auckland liquor store robbed three times in as many weeks has resorted to leaving its doors locked during business hours so it can monitor each customer that enters.

Legends Liquor on Duke St in Three Kings was hit by four young people on August 13, one of whom was carrying a plank of wood as a weapon.

Two staff in the store were injured, with one hospitalised after he was bottled in the back of the head and another injured by the wood around his eye and knee.

Store owner Jeffrey Wu says the new locked-door policy has cost him business, but he doesn't know what else to do.

"They still haven't got caught so they might come back any time," he says. "I just can't put my staff's life at risk.

"We put an open sign at the front, but people aren't used to it - walking into a store and having to knock on the door."

Mr Wu says violence has stepped up so much this year he has considered moving his business out of New Zealand after more than a decade.

"You can't do it, the cost of running it - I've got two people in the store, one standing at the door."

On Monday, Prime Minister John Key sought to allay the fears about a perceived increase in crime in an open letter to the Chinese community.

"Sometimes there's a few high-profile burglaries or assaults and they tend to raise those issues in the community," said Mr Key.

He batted away criticism the letter was an act of desperation because police were under-funded, saying the national crime rate is down.

And from September 1 police will attend all home burglaries, following a rise over the past 12 months.

Police Minister Judith Collins said anyone who was the victim of a burglary would have police on the scene in "a reasonable time".

But Mr Wu says Mr Key's message isn't enough. He thinks the costs are too high for small businesses trying to protect themselves, and he would like to see those fees go toward hiring more police.

"If you're bringing in 50,000 people into this country every year, you need more cops. It's not just collecting tax from us; you've got to protect us as well."

He feels his business has been unfairly penalised over the robberies, with extra fees added to his liquor licence.

"They are actually charging us a fee, called a 'high-risk' fee. If you report to the police they're going to charge us $1400 a year.

"What's that money for? Because we get robbed?"

Police are still investigating the robberies.


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