Tuesday, September 17, 2013

New Zealand: Assailant Who Robbed Tourists at Gunpoint in Auckland Denies 18 Charges

According to http://www.stuff.co.nz, assailant John Koteka, 34, who is alleged to have robbed a number of tourists in Auckland at gunpoint has denied some 18 charges filed against him. 

It is alleged he pulled a pistol on several people - two he allegedly robbed at the Auckland Domain Wintergardens, one at the base of Mt. Eden and a group of tourists at the summit. Police said the accused had driven to the summit and turned into the car park before pulling over on the side of the road and approaching the tourists. The tour operator's bag was subsequently stolen. 

Two people attempted to wrestle a tote bag from the alleged offender and chased him to his car before five shots were fired by the assailant. One victim tried unsuccessfully to get into the stolen 2012 Holden Commodore that the criminal was driving. 

COMMENT: About two weeks later, police saw Koteka with co-accused Alex Tereora on the outskirts of Hamilton driving south. Road spikes were deployed after a high-speed chase, and the car was eventually neutralized. Police said the men fled on foot before being tracked down by police dogs and handlers.

In the High Court in Auckland earlier today, Koteka pleaded not guilty to all charges through counsel Ron Mansfield. The charges include aggravated robbery, aggravated assault and reckless discharge of a firearm. Koteka was remanded into custody and a trial date was set for next August 2014.

As I have said so often in the past, New Zealand is hardly a low-risk destination for both drivers not familiar with "driving on the left" and tourists thinking that they have arrived in a low-risk country. It is NOT a low-risk country.