February 21, 2018

Patched Black Power member attacks 63-year-old busker in broad daylight

A 63-year-old man known to use a mobility scooter has become the latest victim of a brutal bashing at the hands of Black Power members in Taranaki. The man, who was understood to have been wearing a faded Mongrel Mob t-shirt at the time, was seriously assaulted in an unprovoked attack by a patched member of the rival gang about 2.15pm near the intersection of Queen and McLean streets in Waitara on February 16.

The victim, who is a well-known busker, was taken to Taranaki Base Hospital where he received medical treatment for his injuries and was later discharged.
Armed police at the Highway 61 gang pad in Norman St, Waitara, in December after a ram-raid and shooting. (file photo)
Grant Matthew
Armed police at the Highway 61 gang pad in Norman St, Waitara, in December after a ram-raid and shooting. (file photo)
Police have arrested and charged two men in relation to the attack and charged them with injuring with intent to cause grievous bodily harm. One of the men is a patched member of the Black Power.

Police arrest gang members after "violent confrontation" (link is external)

Gang shooting - Arrest warrants issued while trio remain in custody (link is external)
Arrests made after a second gang related shooting in Waitara (link is external)
Arrest made after gang related shooting in Taranaki (link is external)

The high profile assault was the fourth alleged to have been carried out by members of the gang against rival groups in recent months.
Black Power have a visible presence in Taranaki. (file photo)
Bradley Ambrose
Black Power have a visible presence in Taranaki. (file photo)
The first was the December ram-raid and shooting at the Highway 61 gang pad on Norman St, Waitara. Eight days later shots were fired at a property near the town's CBD and shortly after a car was set alight in the grounds of Waitara Central School.

In January Black Power clashed with three members of the Rebels motorcycle gang at Manaia's Waimate Hotel. It's alleged the Rebels, which included a member aged 72,  were assaulted by a group of Black Power members. At the time police said it was a targeted attack.

In both the attack on the Rebels and Highway 61, patches from the rival gangs were alleged to have been taken by members of the Black Power. Police have made arrests in all of the attacks.

Detective Sergeant Pat Yates said it was alleged the Black Power member who attacked the busker had been dropped off by another man driving a car and then picked up after he had carried out the assault.
"It's a serious assault and it's an unprovoked assault too," Yates said.

He said the victim, who did not present any danger to the gang, was lucky to have not been more seriously injured.
"Everybody in Waitara knows him and knows he doesn't pose a threat to anyone."

Yates said a number of people who witnessed the assault were helping police with their inquiries but more details were being sought and he urged anyone with information to come forward and help keep their community safe.

He reassured the public police were determined to hold the offenders to account.
"These matters are being investigated and arrests are being made quickly."

The escalation in violence is understood to be an attempt by the Black Power, which has always been the region's predominant gang, to assert its dominance and keep control of the drug trade.

Yates would not discuss the potential motivation for the attacks and referred the media to Detective Senior Sergeant Brent Matuku.

Matuku said that the incidents weren't related and involved different individuals.
"Whether it is gang related or not is conjecture. Police won't tolerate violence against any party, individual, member of the public, gang or otherwise."
"We are concerned about any violence, especially public violence where members of the community could become involved."

New Zealand - BN

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