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'What have We Done To Deserve This?': Papatoetoe Jeweller Hit By Hammer

Gurdeep Singh, 50, suffered a skull fracture and multiple cuts after attempted robbery on June 23, 2024

Gurdeep Singh, a 50 year old Pooja jewellery store owner in Papatoetoe, suffered a skull fracture and multiple cuts after teenage robbers violently attacked him with a hammer and knife at his South Auckland jewellery store on June 23, 2024. Speaking about the incident for the first time to The New Zealand Herald, Singh holds the parents of the offenders responsible for their actions.

Singh described the harrowing attack at Pooja Jewellers on Kolmar Road, which left him bleeding on the ground. "I haven't been able to sleep and feel anger towards the criminal justice system," Singh told the Herald.

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The robbery occurred as Singh's family-owned store was closing for the night. Armed teenage robbers stormed the shop, with one attacker hitting Singh over the head with a hammer and slashing him multiple times as he tried to protect his family and store. The incident was captured on CCTV and only stopped when Singh's son, Sunny Singh, fought back with a ceremonial sword.

Initially, police arrested three teenagers, aged 15, 16, and 17, charging them with aggravated robbery with intent to cause grievous bodily harm. Later, a 16-year-old male and a 36-year-old woman were also arrested. The woman faces charges of being an accessory after the fact to aggravated robbery and receiving stolen property.

Singh, who emigrated from Punjab to New Zealand in 1986 and opened his first jewellery store in 2004, vividly recalled the attack. "I remember hearing my daughter scream and seeing the robbers force their way into the store," he told Herald. Despite his efforts to lock the security grille, the robbers managed to enter and attack him.

Sunny Singh intervened with a ceremonial sword, holding off the attackers. "I remember telling Sunny to let them take what they wanted, but by then it was all over," Singh told Herald. He believes his son's actions were a reaction to seeing his father bleeding and his family in danger.

Singh expressed frustration with the justice system, feeling that it fails to prevent such crimes. "The anger towards the system is more than towards these individuals," he said. He criticised the government's inability to prevent such attacks and called for tougher punishments for youth offenders.

In response to the attack, around 200 business owners staged a protest, closing their shops for an hour and demanding stricter penalties for youth offenders. Lawyer Haseeb Ashraf, speaking at the protest, emphasized that the state and police should ensure such crimes do not occur.

Singh and his family have built a successful business with three jewellery stores across Auckland. He rejects the notion that criminals deserve leniency due to their backgrounds, arguing that hard work and perseverance should be respected and protected.

Re-elected as chairman of the Hunters Corner Town Centre Association, Singh prioritises reducing crime in his community. Since the attack, he has struggled with anxiety and sleeplessness, constantly checking his home for security.

Singh believes that parents should be held accountable for their children's actions, especially in serious crimes. He supports the government's recent measures to tackle youth crime, including harsher penalties and potential military-style boot camps for serious offenders.

Reflecting on the incident, Singh lamented the impact on his family's sense of security and well-being. "We work hard to provide for our family. What have we done to deserve this?" he asked. He hopes for stricter laws to prevent future crimes and protect hardworking families like his, The New Zealand Herald reported.

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