28 Jan 2009

Two charged after Burger King hostage ordeal

6:00 am on 28 January 2009

Two men have appeared in court after a traumatic hostage ordeal involving five people at a Mangere fast-food outlet.

Lipano Tiatia, 24, and a 22-year-old who was granted name suppression were both remanded in custody when they appeared in Manukau District Court on Tuesday afternoon.

They are jointly charged with kidnapping their five victims, robbing them of cash, wallets and cellphones, and threatening to kill them.

They are also charged with assaulting the restaurant's manager.

The workers at Burger King in Mangere were held for about 40 minutes in the middle of the night before their captors released them - and gave themselves up to police.

Counties-Manukau-based Senior Sergeant Spencer Matthews said the five workers were emotionally traumatised but grateful to be safe.

He says luckily the police had staff in the area, so were able to get to the scene very quickly.

The men will appear in court again next month.

Security standards constantly reviewed

Burger King New Zealand general manager Glenn Corbett said the company will offer the workers any support it can, including counselling.

Mr Corbett said it is the most serious incident he can recall involving Burger King staff.

The company has high security standards that are constantly being reviewed, but will conduct an inquiry into the incident, he said.