Neil Reid of the Sunday News has written an intriguing article about the allegedly fatal stabbing of an African youth in Avondale at 9pm on Wednesday. Normally news such as this filters through to the press within hours but it’s taken 3 days in this instance.
In his report Neil Reid says
“The source told Sunday News an African youth wearing a green jersey was attacked by a bottle-wielding youth wearing the uniform of a prominent Auckland high school.
The source said a youth had been “nabbed” by police shortly afterwards, covered in blood splatters and carrying the victim’s bag.
Our source said he had been told the victim had died about 12 hours later.
When Sunday News visited the incident scene yesterday, the remnants of a pool of blood were still visible. Glass shards were also on the footpath.
A local businessman, who did not wish to be named, said he was startled by the sounds of a fight about 9pm on Wednesday. He looked outside to then see a male youth lying motionless on the Rosebank Rd footpath, with blood appearing to come from several wounds. Shortly afterwards police swarmed on the area.
“There was a lot of noise, it sounded like a very rough fight,” he said.
Sunday News was last night unable to contact the principal of the high school whose uniform the attacker was alleged to be wearing.”
We’re wondering if the wearing of the uniform of a “prominent Auckland high school” (the name of the school hasn’t been revealed) has anything to do with all inquiries being referred to the Auckland police media team and is why the story has taken so long to break. Or could it be because the injured/dead youth wearing a green jersey and carrying a bag is an international student and incidents like these doesn’t look good abroad? And why the mystery over the identity of a school uniform of all things?
School related violence involving international students may still be a bit of a touchy subject in the suburb of Avondale. Readers may remember the classroom stabbing of a teacher at Avondale College in March 2008.
In that incident a teacher was stabbed in the back by a 17 year old Korean student Tae Won Chung. At the time of his trial a report in the Herald said:
““Chung’s lawyer, David Jones QC, told the Auckland District Court that the catalyst for the violent attack was culturally insensitive comments by the victim Mr Warren, the day before the school attack.
The day before the attack the teacher made comments to Chung about possible conscription to the Korean Army and about a possibility of North Korea attacking South Korea.
The court was told this left Chun “festering” with anger and he took a knife with him to school the next day.
The Crown said the stabbing was premeditated and that Mr Warren’s comments couldn’t be seen as provocation.”
Around the time of the attack an allegation was made that students had been told not to speak to the media on threat of expulsion link
So far no other news organisations have picked up on the events of Wednesday night. It will be interesting to see how far this story gets out, if any journalists investigate it further and if a press release will be issued.
Other high schools in the area include Kelston Boys, Mount Roskill Grammar and Lynfield College (students at the latter wear green jerseys)
Is a lid being kept on reports of racial violence?
There is a chance that the attack could have been racially motivated, there have been long standing tensions in the area with local youths and others who form themselves into ethnic gangs.
In September of last year a group of teenagers stormed into a Lynfield College classroom and attacked a pupil with a baseball bat. A witness said one of the invaders reportedly yelled out the name of an Afghani youth gang during the attack, which was possibly sparked by comments on the social networking website Bebo.
The invaders were later found to have been students at Mount Roskill Grammar but out of the school’s care because of a term holiday. See Lynfield College invasion
In 2002 Lynfield college spent $900,000 building five pre fabricated classroom blocks and an international language centre was fitted out to cater to the needs of new students, many of whom came from Afghanistan, Iran, Somalia, Sudan and Eritrea. Back then the college principal said an influx of refugees had taken Lynfield somewhat by surprise.
“”The building programme has come about because of the impact of these groups – their needs have caught up with us in the past two years in particular,” he said. “These students bring new issues and challenges, especially in terms of their level of English and our need to assess them.
“Quite a number of these students have been in refugee camps, such as in Pakistan, and they might have been there all their lives. “Some have not been to school by the time they are teenagers.”
Others had traumatic backgrounds from war-torn areas and had often lost family members.
One of the college’s main challenges with the students was to gauge their abilities, particularly in English, as well as taking into account social and emotional problems.”
Lynfield school presently offers special programmes for refugee students with official refugee status and an adult ESOL Programme.
In August 2009 students from Kelston Boys and Auckland Grammar were caught up in a massive brawl during a rugby match. The cause was said to be racial insults and other taunts.
Update 29 March
The following day The NZ Herald carried a story giving a slightly different account of the incident. In that report an Indian man was severely beaten by two men outside Avondale Physiotherapy and he is now in a critical condition in hospital. Another report described them as being teenagers.
Police say an Ethiopian male was arrested but the other attacker, described as a solidly built Polynesian in his late teens with short black hair, had not been found.
Significantly the Herald report makes no mention of the clothing any of them were wearing, which is unusual because a police description of the escaped attackers’ attire would have yielded more information from the public. The police have appealed for more information.
The victim suffered serious head injuries, our best wishes are with him for a full recovery.
Three schools in the area were placed in lockdown today after a gunman was allegedly spotted. For details see “Avondale Schools in lockdown after gunman sighting”
A Somali youth gang in the area
A news report of the Lynfield College invasion
Kelston Boys v. Auckland Grammar stoush