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Fake Christchurch attack victims seek NZ$17k in support

Fake Christchurch attack victims seek NZ$17k in support

Christchurch have police issued warnings to two people for allegedly faking their presence at the mosque shooting attacks in March to each claim NZ$17,000 (€10,000, $11,400) in compensation.

Speaking to the New Zealand Herald, police confirmed that the two unidentified people falsely claimed that they were present at the shootings in the Al Noor mosque and Linwood Islamic Centre. Fifty-one people were killed in the attacks and a further 49 were injured.

"Some individuals thought they may qualify as victims because they were nearby, but were actually witnesses, as outlined in the Victim of Offences Act," police said.

It remains unclear whether the two individuals misunderstood the distinction or had deliberately made false claims.

Millions already paid out

Police said there had been "some concerns" about people trying to "illegitimately" access the city's victim fund, Victims Support Christchurch, which began distributing its final payments on Thursday.

Read more: New Zealand launches post-mosque attack gun buyback scheme

According to local media, Victim Support chief executive Kevin Tso said that more than NZ$7 million has already been paid out in the "emergency phase."

Victim Support revealed on Thursday that further additional payments will be provided to victims, with the increased funding coming to a total of NZ$95,000.

Furthermore, more anonymous donors and corporations have come forward, donating a further NZ$4 million to the Christchurch Foundation, bringing their total to NZ$10 million.

Survivor meets minister

One man hailed as a hero of the mosque attacks, Abdul Aziz, on Friday met with Megan Woods, the Greater Christchurch Regeneration Minister to express concerns over how donated money has been distributed, according to New Zealand media.

Aziz, who had chased the gunman away from the Linwood mosque, raised questions over Victim Support's transparency and Muslim groups such as The Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand.

Aziz said that the way money had been distributed after the attacks disturbed and divided his community. ​"[Victims] are already going through a lot, don't put them through more," he said.

After their meeting, Woods said she would share concerns about Muslim groups to the Office of Ethnic Communities and the "wider community."

Woods elaborated that donation concerns is "outside the scope of then government would get involved," but told Aziz that registered charities such as Victim Support will be audited every year.

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Updated : 2021-07-24 01:09 GMT+08:00