Many international students in Auckland are scared to go out at night for fear of being attacked after coming to New Zealand partly because of the country's supposed safety, a community leader says.
There've been four attacks on Asian students in the city in the past week, and while police say the incidents aren't related and there's no increase in attacks on students, students themselves say they don't feel safe.
Susan Zhu, deputy chair of the Auckland City Council's ethnically-diverse Whau Local Board, says she gets a lot of calls from worried students.
"A lot of students call me and said 'we feel unsafe to go out after school. And you know that's one of the reasons we come to New Zealand because it's such a beautiful and safe place and now we don't feel safe even when it gets dark'," Ms Zhu told ONE News.
"And parents also are quite worried about it, especially [if] they have daughters attending universities. And parents say 'do I need to pick up my daughters every night?' And even parents overseas start worrying about that."
There's no specific attack on specific students- Inspector Joe Tipene of Auckland Police
Ms Zhu says a public meeting is planned at Auckland University likely on Friday, organised by the New Zealand Chinese Student Association to discuss the issue, and community leaders and MPs are invited.
Inspector Joe Tipene of Auckland Police says police are very concerned by the recent attacks "and the level of violence that's been exhibited and demonstrated by specific individuals".
Police say children as young as 12 are now involved in such attacks.
Inspector Tipene says while there have been four recent incidents of students being attacked or robbed, "I think it's fair to say we can give every reassurance to the community that there's no specific attack on specific students as such".
Inspector Tipene says eight arrests have been made in two of the recent cases and police are executing search warrants and are hopeful of more arrests today.
He's advising people to walk in areas that are well lit, preferably with other people, stay away from areas where you may not feel safe, don't display personal items such as phones, and contact police if you are concerned for your safety or threatened.