Dunedin's streets turn into a boxing ring for gangs after Black Power members got out of a car in Brockville Rd yesterday and allegedly attacked a lone Mongrel Mob member walking on the street.
The incident is another in a growing list of gang assaults as tensions rise between the gangs. Police say gang numbers in the city are swelling, as gangs seek a share of the lucrative cannabis market. Acting Senior Sergeant Ed Baker, of Dunedin, said two gang members were arrested following yesterday's incident. Black Power member Allan Waru Kukutai (31), of Henley, was charged with unlawfully having an offensive weapon (a broken broom handle), which he allegedly used to assault the Mongrel Mob pedestrian.
A 19-year-old Mongrel Mob member was also arrested and charged with a drug offence in nearby Wray St. He had been travelling in a vehicle to help his associate, Snr Sgt Baker said. "The most concerning aspect of it was, when the incident occurred, the bush telegraph went into action and a carload of Mongrel Mob members went to his aid. Fortunately, we intercepted them before they made it to the scene." No-one was injured in the altercation, which took place at 10.15am near the shopping centre at the top of Brockville Rd. The frequency of recent gang-related assaults in the city was beginning to irk Dunedin police, Snr Sgt Baker said. "That type of behaviour is not going to be tolerated and we are going to respond to it in urgency," he said. "They can't use our streets as a ring for fighting. If we catch them and identify any offence, they will see the inside of a cell and a court room. The entire police force will be focused on these people." Black Power kingpin Albert Epere was recently recalled to prison and Dunedin police have arrested more than a dozen gang members in the past month for a range of offences. The most serious include a drive-by shooting at a South Dunedin house, the arson of another house and the throwing of Molotov cocktails at several other properties. Kukutai, unemployed, appeared in the Dunedin District Court yesterday afternoon and was remanded in custody until today.