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Cruisers attacked in inner-city Auckland park

Mon 21 Apr 2008 In: New Zealand Daily News View at Wayback

10.00PM: Auckland police are encouraging men allegedly gay-bashed in one of the city's most notorious late night cruising parks to come forward and report the attacks. Following news of an attack on drag diva Miss Ribena on Karangahape Road three weeks ago two men have come forward, on condition of anonymity, reporting attacks on gay men cruising in Western Springs Park at around the same time. The assailants are described as a group of three or four male Islanders or Maori in their late teens or early twenties. "They were wearing gang colours," says one man who is thankful he saw the approaching group soon enough to be able to outrun them. He says some gay men were not so lucky. "Two gay guys in the shadows were surrounded by these bastards before they had a chance to escape," he says. They were allegedly physically attacked while the assailants shouted anti-gay abuse. It is understood other attacks have included a gay man being thrown into the lake and another roughed up badly while the attackers stole his watch, wallet and cellphone. It is not known if the attacks have continued in the past two weeks as the men who recounted the incidents to say they have not returned to the park. They both say they have not reported the incidents to the police out of fear of police reaction to their late night activities in the park. Auckland police spokesperson Noreen Hegarty says no complaints have been lodged with the Auckland police. She says the police are unable to act unless they receive complaints. Police Diversity Liaison Officer Brent Clark says he has not heard of any attacks but would welcome information. Addressing the fear of police scrutiny of late night cruising, Clark says it is doubtful the gay men are committing a crime in the park and "we are not so much interested in what they are doing there as to what attacks may be happening." Clark says the police need for any attacks to be reported. Clark can be contacted on his direct work phone line, 09 302 6771.    

Credit: Daily News Staff

First published: Monday, 21st April 2008 - 10:51pm

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