National and community condemn vicious Mongrel Mob funeral procession attack on rival gangsters

A sickening act of gang violence has left the Palmerston North community shaken.

Police say Mongrel Mob members in a funeral procession leapt from their car to attack members of a rival gang, leaving shocked onlookers scrambling to get out of the way.

And shockwaves are being felt even in the halls of Government.

It was a vicious attack - in broad daylight. A group of what appear to be Mongrel Mob members beat two men outside a Palmerston North cafe - an act of violence that's left the community reeling.

"They're not good for the community. Never have been, never will be," Ngāti Kauwhata chair Dennis Emery said.

Police say two members of a rival gang were the target of the brutality on Thursday afternoon.

The assailants who spotted them were part of a funeral procession for 35-year-old Raniel Kiu - whose death is the subject of a homicide investigation.

"The cars came back around and there was people jumping out at them and started attacking. They said it happened really quickly," said Coffee Club owner Verne Wilson.

The victims were punched, kicked and stomped on, sending Coffee Club guests scrambling on Main Street.

"It was quite quick and quite vicious which is really sad," Emery said.

Wilson told Newshub it was a harrowing experience for witnesses.

"Really proud of the staff, the way they reacted," he told Newshub. "Physically they're fine in every way but mentally traumatised."

Wilson and Emery say the community is rallying around those affected by gang violence and those caught who've been sucked into the lifestyle.

"A lot of these tamariki here are our own - a lot of these rangitahi are our own. So we see we have a responsibility to get on this," Emery said.

It comes as crime and gang violence shape up as major election issues. National says 268 new members joined gangs in March and April and acting police spokesperson Paul Goldsmith says it's just not good enough.

"Their numbers continue to grow," he told Newshub. "We're seeing 66 percent increase in gang membership since this Government took this office. So they're growing faster than the Police."

In a statement to Newshub Police Minister Ginny Andersen said gang violence is never acceptable. She said a fresh Budget boost this week will also go to maintain the current ratio of officers to members of the public.

Police said a criminal investigation is underway into the Palmerston North attack. There have been no arrests or charges at this time.