Tuesday, 14 April 2009 - 8:27am |

Armed incident in Karangahake Gorge

2 min read

A group of Auckland based Korean students face possible firearms charges following an incident in the Karangahake Gorge yesterday afternoon that Police say could have easily ended in tragedy.

Detective Sergeant Glenn Tinsley of the Waihi CIB said SH2 between Paeroa and Waihi was closed for a short period around 3pm while Police responded to reports of a man brandishing a handgun in a 'gangster' style in a rest area.

"A member of the public rang Police describing the weapon as a stainless steal handgun similar to a .44 magnum.

"As a result the gorge was closed by armed Police and an operation launched to locate the group who were confronted by armed officers at a rest area near the Waikino pub."

Mr Tinsley said when confronted by armed officers the four car loads of Korean students, all aged in their late teens, suddenly realised just how stupid and risky their behaviour had been.

An air pistol was recovered at the scene.

"The group were all Auckland based students who had been enjoying the Easter break in Tauranga, when confronted by armed officers they were very, very repentant.

"Three of the group are now likely to face charges for offences under the Firearms Act but it could have so easily been far more serious consequences they faced.

Mr Tinsley said when people saw imitation firearms or airguns being waved about they quite understandably believe they are real.

"And when Police receive reports of such behaviour we have to treat the threat as real which results in a very serious response the like of which we saw yesterday."

"The owners of such items need to think before they do something stupid- don't use them in public, don't point them at people and remember they are not toys they are items that still fire a projectile and have the potential to injure."

Note to media; the inquiry team for this incident are not available for comment due to operational commitments. Please do not ring the Waihi Station in relation to this matter as no further comment is available.