27 June, 2017

Self-defence in the News - No. 107

Dairy owners fight off axe-wielding robbers


June 27, 2017

When tomahawk wielding robbers stormed Ram Sharma's dairy, the father of one had two instinctive thoughts.

Fight back or step back.

So the Hamilton man, and his parents, took on the thieves using a bottle of soy sauce and canned goods to thwart the pair's violent attempt to grab cigarettes.

"Once they come in you can't think what to do. It's only 45 seconds - you can try to protect yourself or you try to stop them."

Police are now appealing to the public to help track down the pair who attempted to rob the dairy on Aberdeen Dr and Courtney Ave on Sunday evening.

Around 6pm Sharma was working the counter when the two men wearing black balaclavas rushed into the store.

They approached the counter with their tomahawks raised and demanded cigarettes.

"I was standing out the back in the storage area having a chat with my parents while they were doing some stuff when two guys came in with the axe.

As the pair approached, Sharma yelled "hey, don't touch".

"I said - 'don't hurt us, take what you want'."

"But he still kept coming towards me."

Sharma put his hands in the air, repeatedly telling the culprits to take what they wanted.

"He said to the other guy - get the smokes."

But before the thieves made it to the cigarette cabinet, Sharma grabbed one of the men's axe.

"Then he started struggling with me. Meanwhile my dad was pushing him outwards while mum tried to hit him."

Sharma's 53-year-old mother turned to the other robber, pulling on the man's mask as he advanced towards the struggling trio.

"I think he lost his shoe, which we didn't realise until later."

A metre or two away Sharma and the thief grappled with the axe.

"Then he started trying to release the axe that I'm holding very tightly."

"Then he just took it, tried to hit me again but luckily I had a soy sauce bottle next to me."

After the soy sauce, Sharma began hurling cans.

"We tried to chase them out but it's too dark outside, there's no street lights and you can't see if they are hiding, and it's not safe to chase them."

At the same time the culprits entered the store Sharma believes a customer pulled up outside with a baby in the back of her car.

Too afraid to enter the woman stayed in the vehicle and called police.

"Once we came back we found one left his shoe behind. We hope the cops can find something."

He described one man as being about 5ft 10, of heavy build and darker skin. The other was shorter about 5ft 4 and skinny with white skin.

Sharma was taken to hospital on the night with a gash to his finger and rapid heart rate.

In the six years the family have owned the store this is the first serious robbery they have experienced.

"It does make you think about safety, everyone is concerned about each other.

"The mental stress is the main thing, it creates fear and makes you think whether it was safe to run the shop."

Sharma was thankful his wife and nine-month-old baby were away overseas at the time.

"We just thank god we are safe."

Waikato police Detective Sergeant Nicola Cornes said the pair fled empty handed.

"This type of threatening behaviour is not something the community should tolerate.

"Police are investigating and are appealing to the public for assistance."

Anyone who recognises people in the images, or witnessed any suspicious activity around the superette on Sunday, is asked to contact Hamilton police station on 07 858 6200.

Alternatively, information can be shared anonymously with Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

11 June, 2017

Warrior poet

Senior kung-fu man Brent at his house, 
waxing lyrical about Ving Chun Kuen, 
among other things..

Photographer: Anthony
Date: 11 June, 2017

05 June, 2017

Self-defence in the News - No. 106

London attacks: Man fights back against terrorists

5 June 2017

Eyewitness Gerard Vowls came face to face with the London Bridge terrorists after leaving his friends at the pub and bravely confronted the group to try and stop them.

Gerard Vowles told Sky in the UK he shouted at the terrorists and threw tables and chairs at them in the hope they'd follow him and stop stabbing others.

When three men armed with a van and knives went on the attack in a bustling area of the British capital on Saturday night [Sunday NZ Time], Londoners fought back with whatever came to hand, in some cases hurling chairs and tables to ward them off.

The attack, in which the assailants killed at least seven people and injured almost 50 before they were shot dead by police, began with a van being driven at high speed into a crowd of pedestrians on London Bridge.

"It looked like he was aiming for groups of people," Mark Roberts, a 53-year-old management consultant, said He saw at least six people on the ground after the van veered on and off the pavement.

"It was horrendous."

Then the knife-wielding assailants took their attack to the nearby Borough Market, where survivors described a hellish scene in an area packed with people enjoying a night out in bars and restaurants.

Gerard Vowles told Sky TV he was on the street near the Southwark Tavern pub, the scene of multiple stabbings, when he heard someone say: "I've been stabbed, I've been stabbed".

"I thought they were joking," he said.

He said he then saw a woman and man being stabbed while the attackers shouted: "This is for Allah", and recalled how he tried to distract the men.

"As they left I was going 'Oi, oi, cowards!'" Vowles said. "I was just trying to get their attention by throwing things at them ... I thought if I throw bottles or chairs they can come after me. If I can get them to come to the main road then the police can stop them, they can obviously shoot them."

Other witnesses reported seeing a man with a large blade, similar to a kitchen knife, and victims bleeding from stab wounds. They said people were fleeing the area in panic.

One witness, who only gave the BBC his first name of Ben, said he saw a man dressed in red who was stabbing a man with a blade that appeared to be about 10 inches long.

"He was being stabbed quite coldly and he slumped to the ground," he said of the victim. The attacker then walked towards Southwark Tavern where a chair was thrown towards him, shortly before gunshots rang out.

- Reuters

Self-defence in the News - No. 105

Shop staff wield cricket bat at shoplifter

Last updated 11:27, June 1 2017

A Hamilton greengrocer says he refuses to give in to shoplifters after his staff fended off a would-be thief with a cricket bat.

After the thief left, the next day the greengrocer said he received a threatening call from the man's relative.

A brawl broke out outside Harjit Singh's Vege King, Fairfield store on Tuesday after a man was asked to return stolen corned beef.

The man became violent, Singh said, punching his staff who resorted to returning blows with a cricket bat.

"He bloody steal stuff you know, and then he hit my staff. We don't want to hit anyone. We want to stop them you know."

A staff member suspected the man was pocketing cheese. He then alerted other staff when she saw him nab the corned beef.

He pushed her, and walked from the store. Outside, another Vege King staff member asked him to return the goods.

The man, "pretending to be like a boxer", threw a punch at his face, Singh said.

"After that, what can we do? Then we hit him too."

More workers, and the cricket bat, came from the back of the store to assist.

The end of the brawl was captured by a passer-by, who posted the footage on Facebook.

After a swipe at his head, the man walks away from the store - without the food, Singh said.

But the saga continued. On Wednesday, Singh said he received a threatening phone call from the young man's uncle.

"He said, 'oh, I want to fight with you'. I said, 'Okay, one on one? I'm ready ... you tell me the place.'"

The uncle's tone then changed and an apology was offered, he said.

Singh was growing frustrated with both shoplifters and police response.

"They came here and they pretended like nothing happened here."

A police spokesperson said the man had already left the scene when officers arrived. Police spoke to witnesses and enquiries are ongoing.

It was fortunate Vege King had a lot of staff during situations like this, he said.

"I feel sorry for the other people they're targeting. Last week, the Super Liquor … it's really, really bad you know."

Two doors down Heaphy Tce, Super Liquor faced a similar problem on Friday night.

A young man, masked with a red bandanna, entered the store and threw an empty backpack in front of manager Dev Bhardwaj.

He drew a long, single barrel weapon from his puffer jacket.

"It's bloody scary man, I had three customers in the shop," Bhardwaj said.

After 6pm, he is the sole shopkeeper in the small village shopping centre. Police responded in 10 minutes, he said.

It was the first time in six years he's faced a firearm, he said, but aggressive armed robberies aren't uncommon.

Three weeks ago, three young men entered the store and threatened him with a knife.

"We are basically in a dilemma, what can we do?"