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Gangs of Christchurch


Every now and then you hear about a violent attack in New Zealand. Often the worst thing about them is that they’re completely random.

Back in Liverpool, I had a CB radio scanner and used to listen to the police radio traffic in the middle of the city. It was actually scary how much stuff happened that just didn’t make it to the news.

I thought Christchurch would be different, i.e. any violent attack here would be on the front page of The Press straight away. But recently, my cousin was unlucky enough to find out otherwise.

Dodgy alley off Cashel Street

Dodgy alley off Cashel Street

At about 1am on a Sunday morning, he was out on the town with some friends. He’s an 18 year old clean looking guy and wouldn’t look like a threat to anyone but the ladies (if ya know what I mean). However, as he wandered past Hotel So on Cashel Street, he got jumped by a group or 4 or 5 guys. They dragged him and his friend into the alleyway between Hotel So and the Grand Chancellor hotel (pictured above) and beat them both until they were bruised and bloody, before the hoodie-wearing morons cowardly ran off as other people approached.

My cousin ended up in hospital with some serious damage to his teeth – he’d been knocked to the ground and kicked straight in the mouth, forcing his teeth backwards.

In a moment of genius, one of the “alleged attackers” had dropped his cellphone as he ran. The cellphone had pictures of himself in a mirror, doing lame gang signs and trying to look hard. Amazingly, the police tracked down the owner, asked him if he did it, he said “no” and the police gave him back his phone and reported back that there was nothing they could do.


Imagine this guy in a hoody ... and fatter

Imagine this guy in a hoody ... and fatter

And what happens when these guys find out they can get away with it? Well, just one month later, my other cousin happened to be heading down that same alley on his bike late on a Thursday evening. Suddenly a group of guys step out of the shadows and start chasing him. He does a quick u-turn and gets away unharmed.

The story didn’t make the news – probably nothing new or interesting about it. But I’m happy to report it here and warn others. One kick in the wrong place and my cousin might not have been so lucky.

So if you’re in town for a few drinks, I’d say keep away from this alley. If those guys want to claim a dirty patch of tarmac as their own, they’re welcome to it.

To those responsible, I’ve got a gang sign for ya:


14/10/9 UPDATE: Last weekend The Press reported that three people have been arrested at this same location for random violent attacks on passer-bys. Let’s hope it’s the same people and these guys are punished for their stupidity.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Heather permalink
    05/10/2009 3:35 am

    That really sucks, hope your cousin is doing OK and not put off NZ.

    Know what? My friend and I got beaten up in the Square one night by a gang of girls. and another time, with another friend, we got attacked by a bunch of girls in a quiet end of the foyer at the town hall. Both incidents were in 1984!!

    A few years later I started uni, where the wimin would hold “reclaim the night” marches, protesting that females can’t walk anywhere they want at night without getting attacked.

    OK, so we should be able to go wherever we want, whenever. But actually, much as it pains me to say this: if you don’t want to get beaten up in a dark alley, don’t go there! It’s not just women who become prey for opportunists. Look after yourself, make it hard for them. The bastards are out there!

  2. 05/10/2009 4:06 am

    Thanks for your comment Heather. Interesting (and sad) to see that it’s basically never really changed.

    Yeah definitely just best to stay away. Although in this case, he was actually walking along Cashel Street, right in the middle of town, and was dragged into the alley.

    I tend not to go into town any more at night. Not particularly because of the dangers – I spent my clubbing years in Liverpool and I still think it’s much more dangerous there! But even so, it’s one more thing that can ruin a city’s image and make it an unpleasant place to be sometimes.


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