An Indian taxi driver has suffered from a broken nose and cut on his hand after being assaulted by a passenger in Lower Hutt earlier last Friday.
31-year-old Harpreet Singh picked up a passenger at around 3 a.m. on Friday from the Lower Hutt Queens Rd rank outside Queensgate Shopping Centre.who at the end of his trip, which was barely four minutes drive assaulted him while demanding for money.
Harpreet's wife Mattar Amanpreet told NZ Herald that the passenger asked to be dropped at Waterloo shops which were four-minutes drive from the pickup location and opened a casual chat with the driver about the weather and his work.
When the taxi reached Waterloo, the passenger asked to be dropped at Collingwood Street, and it was then that the passenger threatened Harpreet with a knife.
Harpreet's wife speaking to NZ Herald narrating the ordeal her husband suffered said that the passenger on the way towards Collingwood Street reached out to his backpack between his legs and pulled out a knife and put it to Harpreet's throat demanding for money.
"...the passenger put it [the knife] to my husband's throat and said 'give me the money'," victim's wife Mattar Amanpreet told NZ Herald.
A struggle ensued between the two when Harpreet tried to grab the knife pointed to his throat when he suffered a deep cut on his thumb on his right-hand. The passenger then punched Harpreet twice on his nose.
Harpreet then fled from his own vehicle running to find any help in the dead of night and kept running until a little down further on the road where he saw a parked taxi on a driveway.
Harpreet narrated the incident to the taxi driver and asked him to call the police. The other taxi driver let him inside his car and drove towards Harpreet's taxi only to find it robbed of approximately $250 cash from the middle console and a few coins.
The passenger had by then escaped with the cash from the scene.
The victim and his wife have a five-month-old baby and a three-year-old daughter and are now questioning the merit of working late in the evening and fear about their future jobs in the area.
The couple has also warned other taxi drivers to be aware when at their jobs as this incident has happened in an area which is considered relatively safe in Wellington.
A police spokeswoman confirmed that police received a report of a robbery on Collingwood St in Lower Hutt shortly after 3 a.m. on Friday, June 14.
Hutt and City Taxis chairman Nelson Manak said the company had been in touch with Singh since the incident happened. Manak also visited him on Friday evening, NZ Herald reported.
"We are offering him any support that we can give him," he said.
"It's not very good when someone was just going about their work and have a knife pulled on them. It's not a good situation to be in."
Manak said serious assaults on staff didn't happen often, and he only knew of three or four incidents in the past 20 years.
"However, small incidents happen quite a bit, like racial attacks or people refusing to pay," he said.
Manak said a message had been sent out to staff to alert them about the attack and warn them to be careful.
He said camera footage in the car had shown the offender was dressed in a hoodie and gloves.
"He looked to be prepared for that sort of thing," he said. "So it is going to be difficult to recognise them," Manak added.
More to come.