On September 3, a man who was shot dead by Auckland police in a supermarket after stabbing several shoppers is said to have been well known to police and had previously been arrested for allegedly planning a “lone wolf” knife attack.
Six shoppers were injured, including three critically, after the ISIS sympathizer carried out the horrific attack at the New LynnMall Countdown in Auckland, New Zealand.
The 32-year-old man — known only as “S” for legal reasons — has reportedly been on the Auckland police’s radar for many years.
The man, who had recently been released from prison, was under constant surveillance by the police. The surveillance included a tactical team as well as national security agencies.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, told local media that the attack was carried out by an individual, not a faith and defended the police’s management of the threat stating, “We have utilized every legal and surveillance power available to us to keep people safe from this individual.”
In 2020, New Zealand courts attempted to prosecute the man under the Terrorism Suppression Act 2002 however a High Court Judge ruled that “preparing a terrorist attack was not in itself an offense under the legislation.” the New Zealand Herald reported.
S was prosecuted on lesser charges, and on May 26 of this year was found guilty of possessing propaganda-style material supportive of the Islamic State and was sentenced to one year of supervision which was to be served at a West Auckland Mosque.
Previously, in May 2017, S was detained at the Auckland International Airport after he had booked a one-way ticket to Singapore. A search of his apartment in Auckland revealed material that glorified violence including pictures of him holding a large hunting knife. He was held in custody for over a year and eventually plead guilty to charges of distributing restricted material.
Due to the time he had already spent incarcerated a High Court Judge ruled that a year’s supervision was the most the courts could sentence him to.
He was acquitted of two other charges; possession of a graphic video depicting a prisoner being decapitated and possession of an offensive weapon.
S, who first came to New Zealand from Syria in October 2011, told a jury during his trial that, “You’re worried about one knife, I am telling you I will buy 10 knives. It’s about my rights.”
Disturbing internet history
A New Zealand court learned of the terrorist’s disturbing internet search history at his trial in May.
It was revealed that S had bookmarked several web pages including one titled “safety and security guidelines for lone-wolf mujahideen” and that he had been scouring the web looking for hunting knives, camouflage pants and Islamic State dress. He had also searched for “New Zealand prison clothes and food.”
His search history revealed that he had searched for pages containing information about Imran Patel, an ISIS supporter and the first person ever jailed in New Zealand for distributing extremist videos.
Investigations revealed that he also searched Google for instructions on “how to attack kuffar and how to make explosive devices.”
He first came to the authorities attention in 2016 after posting anit-west rhetoric on Facebook.
At the time, S was given formal warnings by the police however continued to post violent material, including a comment stating “One day I will go back to my country and I will find kiwi scums in my country … and I will show them … what will happen when you mess with S while I’m in their country. If you’re tough in your country … we are tougher in our country scums #payback”, the New Zealand Herald reported.
At one time, S reportedly told a fellow worshiper at a mosque that he intended to join ISIS in Syria.