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Man caught hiding in car boot at Covid checkpoint

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A man hiding in the boot of a car and the arrest of a man who allegedly hit another shopper after a dispute over masks are some of the Covid-19 related incidents police have had to deal with over the past 24 hours. 

After yesterday’s haul of KFC and $100,000 in cash at Auckland’s southern checkpoint, police discovered living cargo in the boot of a car in the early hours of this morning at Mercer checkpoint.

A police statement claims at around 2.40am, a vehicle was stopped heading south out of Auckland.

Upon further investigation, police discovered the driver had a stowaway hiding in the boot of his car. 

“The driver claimed he was transiting through Auckland to the Waikato region, however after police spoke to him it was found not to be the case,” says a police spokesperson.

“While at the checkpoint, another man was found hiding in the car’s boot.

“Both men, aged 25 and 26, were issued with infringement notices.”

Police state that, overall, most people have the correct documentation with them when arriving at one of the checkpoints set up. But this example highlights there are still instances where people are presenting at these checkpoints without a permitted reason to cross the boundary.

“These checkpoints are in place to help stop the spread of Covid-19 and Police ask motorists to be patient when they arrive at these locations so our checks can be carried out,” says a police statement.

Police are also warning drivers not to drive off aggressively or with excess speed from checkpoints. A man was issued with several infringement notices on Monday after driving over 90km/h upon leaving a northern checkpoint in the early hours of the morning.

“Police remind motorists that temporary speed limits are in place at these checkpoints for the safety of all road users, as well as our staff operating these checkpoints,” says a police spokesperson.

“Enforcement action is available to Police and infringement notices have been issued to motorists found to be travelling in excess of the temporary limits.”

Elsewhere, Police arrested a man yesterday following an investigation into cowardly assault on a customer at a Pukekohe supermarket on Sunday, September 19.

“The alleged offender was abusive and threatening towards staff and customers after being asked to wear a mask while inside the shop,” says a police spokesperson.

“He then allegedly punched a 70-year-old male customer in the face, threatened staff and left prior to Police arrival.

“The elderly victim was shaken but did not require medical treatment, while other customers and staff were also shaken by the aggressive behaviour of the man.”

Police have been liaising with and supporting the victims involved following this incident.

A 20-year-old man has been charged in relation to assault threatening behaviour, driving while disqualified and failing to comply with the Health Order and was due to appear in the Pukekohe District Court today.

Checkpoint figures:

As of 11.59pm yesterday, a total of 196,193 vehicles have now been stopped at the 10 checkpoints on Auckland’s northern and southern boundaries since 11.59pm on 31 August.

A total of 2,432 vehicles have been turned around during this time.

15,854 vehicles were processed at the checkpoints yesterday while only 146 vehicles were turned around.

A total of 34 vehicles were turned away at the Northern checkpoints yesterday while 112 vehicles were turned around at the Southern checkpoints.

As at 11.59pm September 20, 2,800 heavy vehicles have been stopped and 172 of them have been turned around attempting to leave Auckland.

47 of those vehicles were turned around yesterday.

Auckland compliance update:

Since Alert Level 4 came into place, in Auckland 87 people have been charged with a total of 91 offences as at 5pm yesterday (September, 20 2021).

Of these, 74 are for Failing to Comply with Order (Covid-19), 14 for Failure to Comply with Direction/Prohibition/Restriction, one for Failing to Stop (Covid 19-related), and two for Assaults/Threatens/Hinders/Obstructs Enforcement Officer.

In the same time period, 189 people were formally warned for a range of offences.

To date, Police have received a total of 9,989 105-online breach notifications relating to businesses, mass gatherings or people in Auckland.

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