New Lynn supermarket terror attack: Police Commissioner Andrew Coster issues warning over misinformation circulating on social media

The Police Commissioner is warning people false information is being circulated online about the New Lynn supermarket terror attack. 

Six people were injured after ISIS-inspired extremist Aathil Samsudeen went on a stabbing rampage at LynnMall's Countdown in New Lynn on Friday. Samsudeen, who was under police surveillance, was shot dead within minutes of starting his attack. 

On Tuesday Andrew Coster urged people to exercise caution regarding unverified information on social media. 

"While the investigation into the horrific event at LynnMall on Friday afternoon is ongoing, police have been made aware of some false information being shared on social platforms. 

"I would urge anyone who comes across this type of information to be aware that much of what is circulating on social media platforms, is either false, or inaccurate," he said in a statement. 

Coster said police are working with local and ethnic communities to ensure they are supported after the attack. 

"It is natural for some communities to feel more exposed to negative views. Police are working very hard with our community liaison staff to ensure local and ethnic communities feel well informed and supported.

"The events at the supermarket on Friday were the actions of the deceased alone, whose views were not representative of any community, and we are not seeking anyone else. I want to reassure our community, including our ethnic communities, that we are doing everything we can to ensure their safety."

He said police are carrying out reassurance patrols at places of worship and essential services to ensure Kiwis feel safe. 

"We will be out and about in our communities ensuring people are and feel safe. We have also been engaging with a number of ethnic community leaders. 

"Police want to encourage anyone who has been subjected to behaviour that puts them at risk, to contact police. People have an absolute right to feel safe going about their normal activities. If you at any point feel unsafe call 111."

Samsudeen, originally from Sri Lanka, arrived in New Zealand on a student visa in 2011 before seeking asylum and applying for refugee status a month later, which was initially denied by Immigration New Zealand.

He then appealed that decision through the Immigration Protection Tribunal, which eventually granted him refugee status in 2013. 

Years later, Samsudeen came to the attention of authorities for possessing objectionable material on his computer. Through this investigation, authorities discovered the documentation he had used for his original application appeared to be fraudulent. 

In February 2019, Samsudeen's refugee status was cancelled and he was served with deportation liability notices. In April of that year, he appealed against his deportation while in prison facing charges.

But the appeal couldn't go ahead until the trial ended in May 2021. At the time of the terrorist attack, his appeal was still ongoing.

Sign up to receive news updates

By entering your email address, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. Newshub and its affiliates may use your email address to provide updates/news, ads, and offers. To withdraw your consent or learn more about your rights, see the Privacy Policy.