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'People are afraid to come out': Albany hospo a ghost town after bus stop stabbing death

Jaime Lyth,
Publish Date
Wed, 20 Sep 2023, 3:55PM

'People are afraid to come out': Albany hospo a ghost town after bus stop stabbing death

Jaime Lyth,
Publish Date
Wed, 20 Sep 2023, 3:55PM

An Auckland restaurateur operating close to the site of Monday’s fatal bus stop stabbing is worried “people are afraid to come out to this area to eat” after the second violent attack on innocent members of the public in Albany in months.

homicide investigation was launched on Monday after the 24-year-old man died in a violent assault.

A 16-year-old was remanded in custody to reappear in the Auckland High Court on October 4.

Police confirmed on Tuesday afternoon that the investigation remains ongoing, but at this stage, they are not seeking anyone else in connection with the incident.

1981 Noodle House owner Jason Ma told the Herald that his business, which is across the road from the bus station, was noticeably quieter following the attack.

“We heard what happened, it is very sad.

“As a business owner, you can see the business is really affected by the event, we are normally very busy for lunch but not today.

“I think it might be people are afraid to come out to this area to eat.”

Ma said the business was usually busy during the lunch rush, but only three people were dining when the Herald visited.

“You can see the really [instant] effect on business.”

The restaurant has only been open for five weeks, and Ma said business had been consistently good until the last 24 hours after the attack.

“Hopefully people come back.”

The workers saw the police cars yesterday but weren’t aware of the tragedy that occurred close by until they read the news later on.

“We don’t want to see those things happening, especially in this area.

“It’s just an incident, I’m not saying this area is not safe. I still think Auckland is one of the safest cities in the country, maybe even the world right?.”

Ma recognised there had been some violent crime in New Zealand recently, but he said in comparison with other countries, New Zealand was still a safe place to live.

“I just hope people don’t get panicked.

“What happened has happened I want people to protect themselves, and also just don’t be afraid.”

The altercation at the Albany Park and Ride bus shelter happened about 12.50pm and left blood smeared across a glass window along the platform.

It took place in front of other commuters, and one other person received minor injuries. A visibly shocked young female witness was led away by police on Monday afternoon.

Earlier Auckland Transport said an altercation broke out between members of the public which resulted in one person receiving critical injuries and another with a minor injury. The person later died in hospital.

Police document evidence at the scene of a violent attack in Albany that claimed a person's life. Photo / Dean Purcell

Police document evidence at the scene of a violent attack in Albany that claimed a person's life. Photo / Dean Purcell

The transport hub was closed overnight as police investigated but was reopened the following day and services were operating as usual.

Albany ward councillor Wayne Walker said he had been at the station twice the day after the attack.

“People seem to be going about their usual routine, so that was encouraging.

“I spoke to AT and security people there... there’s an increased presence there at the moment.”

Two police cars could be seen parked at Albany bus station the day after the incident. The cafe and the indoor kiosk area at the station were both closed to the public.

There was a strong smell of cleaning detergent as cleaners scrubbed the ground and windows outside and inside the bus station.

It was an isolated altercation where the fight escalated and the “result was tragic”, Walker said.

“There’s a high level of awareness, and obviously, people have got unanswered questions as to how it happened.”

Walker said he understood the younger person involved in the assault was with a small group of people.

“I understand they’re looking for a weapon,” Walker said, but he mentioned there is a lot of undeveloped land in the area, so police had “a bit of scouting to do”.

Police travelled to Hamilton on Monday night and arrested the 16-year-old with the assistance of Waikato CIB, Detective Inspector Callum McNeill said.

Walker recognised that there are increasing issues with youth in Auckland, and he wanted to see an increase in technology that can help the monitoring of weapons.

“It’s very clear we have a serious problem, particularly amongst youth that carry weapons.

“We’ve clamped down on firearms, but we’ve got these other weapons.

“In any given community, you’ve got any number of groups and so on that are working on parts of the problem, but what I don’t see as much is the coordination that would try plug gaps and solve it.”

In June, multiple people were injured and taken to hospital in Albany after a 24-year-old man wielding an axe entered three restaurants in a random attack.

The man is currently receiving mental health treatment in Mt Eden Prison and remains, in the words of mental health court liaison nurse who addressed the court, “acutely psychotic”.

Last month, a 16-year-old girl told Stuff she was randomly attacked at the Albany bus station.

She said she would never get on a bus again after she was punched in the head and had her shoes stolen.

AT executive general manager Public Transport Services Stacey van der Putten said the fatality came as a shock to passengers and staff who were at the station.

“Events like this afternoon’s attack are a very rare occurrence across our AT Metro network, but while Police are investigating we are also looking at how we can increase our security presence at large stations like Albany.”

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