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Detained Kiwi youths offered KFC to end 30-hour stand-off

Detained Kiwi youths offered KFC to end 30-hour stand-off

Police knew it was finger-licking good.

It seems KFC is the unlikely hero in a days-long standoff between teens in a youth justice centre and authorities in New Zealand.

Five youths at the Korowai Manaaki Youth Justice Residence in Wiri, near Auckland, climbed on top of a roof at the youth justice centre on Saturday morning.

Police were called just before midday after the youths reportedly stole a set of keys from guards and fled to the roof.

All the teens on the roof had covered their faces with bandanas, and one was holding a radio, Oranga Tamariki confirmed.

It took police and staff at the facility over 30 hours to get the five teenagers down.

While three of the youths came down from the roof at 6:30 pm last night, the remaining two didn’t come back down until 10:30 pm.

Stuff NZ understands that part of the negotiation process involved giving the youths KFC and fast food upon surrendering.

All five are now in police custody.

Fire trucks and ambulances were also at the scene as a precaution.

“These are vulnerable young people, and our first approach will always be to use the least harmful ways to convince them to come down safely on their own terms,” said Oranga Tamariki Chief Executive Mike Bush in a statement on Wednesday.

“Fast food was part of the negotiations and additional items were also used to attempt to bring the young people down throughout the day and overnight, such as clothing and hot drinks.”

Deputy Chief Executive, Tusha Penny, said in an interview 1 News: “This came to an end through de-escalation.

“We've got to remember these are young people, we have a statutory obligation to have them in our care, but this behaviour can't be tolerated.”

When asked if KFC was given to the teenagers, Penny confirmed: “Yes, they did get food when they came down because they had been up there for a long time.”

“I know the thoughts around the country, I too had to be convinced about the KFC,” she said.

“But here’s the reality, it had been hours, we wanted it to be done safely and to be de-escalated.”

“This isn’t about KFC, it’s about the issues we’re facing and we’ve got to make a change.”

The incident comes a week after another group of youths climbed up on the roof at the Te Puna Wai ō Tuhinapo, Burnham, west of Christchurch.

Featured Image Credit: Pexel/RDNE Stock project. Instagram/ KFC Australia

Topics: News, KFC