30yo man charged over Manukau mall hostage situation

30yo man charged over Manukau mall hostage situation
Photo credit: Supplied

Police have arrested a man over the hostage incident at Westfield Manukau shopping mall this morning. 

The incident was a random act, according to police, and a 30-year-old man has been arrested for kidnapping. He will appear in the Manukau District Court on Saturday. 

Police were notified at around 8:50am on Friday morning of an incident where a man had allegedly taken a woman hostage at knifepoint inside the food court area of the mall. 

Inspector Adam Pyne, Area Commander for Counties Manukau Central, said the area was cordoned off and the entire complex was closed, with members of the public being evacuated outside.

Footage posted to social media on Friday morning showed what appeared to be a man with his arm around a woman's neck in a threatening manner. 

Another video showed police negotiating with the suspect as he threatened the woman. The first officer who arrived at the scene immediately began negotiations with the alleged offender.

Witnesses said the woman held hostage was pregnant.  She was unknown to the man who continued to hold her hostage at knifepoint, according to police. 

"The victim in this matter is understandably shaken but fortunately was not harmed by the alleged offender," said Mr Pyne. 

The suspect was wearing a baseball cap and was holding a knife when he threatened the woman. 

The incident occurred near the mall's Burger King restaurant. Burger King staff said the woman had been standing in their queue when the incident happened. 

Police negotiated with the offender for approximately 40 minutes before he dropped his knife on the ground and released the victim, Mr Pyne said. 

The offender was "immediately apprehended and taken into custody without further incident," police said in a statement. 

The Armed Offenders Squad and the Police Negotiation Team were called to assist as a precaution, however by this time the incident was already resolved.

The incident had been resolved by 10am. Police said the man was in custody and the woman was uninjured.

"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," said Mr Pyne. 

"We would also like to recognise the actions of mall security staff who managed to quickly evacuate members of the public from the area."

People outside the mall appeared shaken and some employees were crying.