GEORGE TOWN: Most of the districts in Christchurch went into lockdown with heavily armed policemen mounting roadblocks soon after the mass shootings in two mosques.
Malaysian civil engineer Kevin Chew, 25, said he was told that schools and universities went into lockdown for four hours, starting 2pm local time on Friday (March 15), while office workers were advised to stay indoors.
“There was nothing unusual, except that many armed policemen were seen on the streets mounting roadblocks,” said Chew, who is working at the ANZ Centre located in the heart of the city.
Chew’s girlfriend Nellie Yung, 21, said the city was one of the safest prior to the incident.
“Never in a million years would I imagine this would happen.
“Christchurch is definitely a peaceful city, and nothing of this magnitude ever happened.
“We are a connected community and incidents like these affect everyone,” said the civil engineering undergraduate, who has been staying there for 15 years.
Ng Kai Chun, who is in New Zealand for a working holiday, was shocked upon learning about the shooting incident.
The 24-year-old said the city was still recovering from the 2016 earthquake.
"The city is now rebuilding, due to the severe damage as a result of the earthquake.
“I never thought something like this would happen in New Zealand, as it is one of the most beautiful countries I have ever been,” he said.
Gina Ooi, 36, who is staying at the Papamoa Beach, said the authorities had advised the public to stay away from mosques in New Zealand.
“I last visited Christchurch in 2017, and the place was peaceful and quiet.
“However, some buildings are ruined after an earthquake, including a cathedral,” said the supply chain manager.
It was reported that a terror attack on two mosques in Christchurch left at least 49 people dead on Friday (March 15).