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Auckland man needs surgery after Royal Oak Mall car park confrontation

Paridhi Bakshi

'I don’t want to fight': Man needs surgery after running from altercation

Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air

An Auckland man says he is physically and mentally scarred after a terrifying confrontation with a stranger.

Manik Kumar, 37, suffered three fractures to his face, near his left eye socket, after he hit a tree while trying to escape a man at the Royal Oak Mall car park two weeks ago.

Kumar, who now has to have surgery, had just parked his vehicle when he was confronted by a man wearing an orange high-vis vest.

“He came from behind, swearing and yelling at me - accusing me of taking a long time to park my car.

“[I told him]: ‘This is a public space. I can park wherever I want to park,” he said.

Kumar said the man pushed him.

“He asked me to punch him in the face and I told him: ‘I don’t want to fight’. He got more angry and pushed me badly,” he said.

Kumar said the stranger continued to follow him, so he decided to go to the mall to seek help from a security guard.

Fearing for his safety and unsure of the stranger’s intention, Kumar said he started to run away from the man. In his panic, he ran into a tree - knocking himself out for a few minutes.

By the time he came to, Kumar said there was blood all over his face and members of the public had surrounded him in a bid to help.

“I am scared and terrified, it has taken a toll on my mental health. My family calls in three times a day to check up on me.”

He said he is also facing a long recovery, including surgery to realign his face and repair the fractures.

At least two CCTV cameras filmed the attack.

In one video, the two men can be seen walking towards each other after Kumar, in a red T-shirt, parksin the car park. The man in the high-vis vest suddenly pushes Kumar - who walks off as the stranger follows.

Another video from a local business is said to have captured the moment Kumar runs off, as the stranger follows him, before Kumar runs into the tree. Kumar said he understood that footage has been passed to police.

Kumar reported the assault to police, but a spokesperson said they are “satisfied with its investigation into this incident, and consider the matter closed”.

“There are avenues available for any member of the public, should they disagree with the outcome of a police investigation.”

Police also told the Herald: “After reviewing CCTV footage of this alleged road rage incident, police [have] decided not to pursue charges and consider the matter closed.”

Kumar said that decision and response from the police have shaken his faith in the authorities.

“This is how it is going to be now, people assaulting other people on the street, and the police not caring to investigate further.” Kumar said.

Hero image: Manik Kumar suffered three fractures to his face, near his left eye socket after an attack at the Royal Oak Mall car park. Photo / Supplied

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