Queenstown ski staff turn sleuths

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Staff from Queenstown’s ski area operator turned detectives twice in recent weeks in a bid to solve crimes.

An NZSki transport staff member was involved in a sting to catch a fraudster selling $23,000 worth of fake bus passes.

And a Coronet Peak staffer identified suspects in a burglary at Heidi’s Hut on the mountain when he discovered season ski passes were scanned by the T–bar gate chairlift at 1.20am the day it happened.

NZSki marketing boss Craig Douglas says: “We’re always keeping an eye open for people attempting to defraud us.

“It’s a matter of engaging with these people, checking them out and then if we think there’s an issue, contacting police.

“It’s sad these incidents occur but we’re not going to sit by and let it happen. We’re going to act.”

Singaporean computing professional Chin Tat Gan, 28, was convicted after pleading guilty to 16 charges relating to forging, selling and using fake NZSki bus passes.

Judge Michael Turner, at Queenstown District Court on Monday, remanded Gan for sentencing on August 26.

Three men charged in relation to the burglary at Heidi’s Hut on Coronet Peak were remanded on bail at a registrar’s hearing at Queenstown District Court on the same day. Jamin Kane Beattie, 21, Simon James Radford, 28, and Nathan Robert Proulx, 26, are due to appear on September 9.

Duty solicitor Mike Newell says he has filed legal aid applications for all three men.

Prosecuting sergeant Grant Gerken sought bail conditions which included non-association orders and a condition not to go near the Coronet Peak ski area.

More than $400 worth of alcohol and food was stolen from the hut after a snowboard party failed to get started when a generator wouldn’t work the night of July 29.

Douglas says: “Staff arrived the next morning and obviously found something had been going on.

“One of our guys checked the data from the night before and discovered there were some scans at the gate.”

Saudi surrenders passport 

A Saudi Arabian student who allegedly attacked a bouncer at Queenstown’s Sky Bar has been remanded on bail.

Police used pepper spray to subdue Meshal Mohammed Alwaal, 22, and a friend after an altercation at the Camp Street bar in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Alwaal had allegedly kissed a girl without her consent and was removed by bouncers when she slapped him.

Senior constable Chris Blackford says: “He was removed from the premises and allegedly had a fight with the doormen and bit one of the doormen.

“His associate also began to fight and also attempted to bite one of the doormen.”

Alwaal, studying to become an air traffic controller, was charged with indecently assaulting a female over the age of 16 and injuring Nathan Wallace with intent. Alwaal was remanded on bail to a Palmerston North address when he appeared at Queenstown District Court on Monday.

Duty solicitor Mike Newell sought a remand without plea for Alwaal.

Alwaal’s offending, particularly in relation to the indecent assault, was at the lower end of the scale. Newell believed Alwaal did not normally consume a lot of alcohol “which may explain his behaviour on the night”.
Alwaal is bailed to reappear in the Queenstown District Court on September 9.

Man found unconscious

Police enquiries are continuing after a Brazilian man was found lying face down on Athol St in a pool of his own blood.

The 45-year-old was found at 12.40am on Saturday and taken to Lakes District Hospital.

“He was extremely intoxicated and police were not sure whether he had been assaulted or simply fallen over,” Blackford says.

The man was taken to Lakes District Hospital by ambulance and treated for his injuries.

Abusive rugby fan

Police arrested a 21-year-old Invercargill man who was shouting abuse during a rugby match.

The spectator was using abusive language towards the referee and other spectators at Queenstown Recreation Ground at 2.15pm on Saturday. The youngster was warned.