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Joanne Wang, 39, of Counties Manukau, died this morning after she was knocked down by a car following a man grabbing her handbag in a shopping carpark in south Auckland yesterday afternoon.
Mrs Wang, a married businesswoman whose eight-year-old son saw her being robbed and then hit by the car, died at 4.15am today at Middlemore Hospital.
Mrs Wang's death is the third homicide investigation launched in the past nine days involving someone from the Asian community and the fourth in two weeks.
Counties-Manukau crime manager Detective Inspector John Tims said Mrs Wang's son was traumatised by witnessing the incident.
Mr Tims called for the public to help hold those responsible for Mrs Wang's death to account but was also forced to defend the safety of the Counties Manukau community.
Post-mortem examination results showed Mrs Wang died of serious head injuries from an impact.
Mrs Wang had returned to her car with her son when a man reached in through the passenger door and ran off with her grey two-handled handbag, to a waiting vehicle.
Security footage from the carpark captured the vehicle, a large white four-wheel drive, on camera but police were not able to makeout a registration plate.
Mr Tims said the footage had not recorded the robbery or the hit and run.
Mrs Wang ran after the man, appearing to try to stop the car from leaving, and was knocked to the ground.
As members of the public went to help her and comfort her distraught son, the car left along Putney Way, he said.
Along with the white car, police are looking for two other vehicles.
One is a red four-door car, which the white car struck as it was leaving, and the other is a green-bluey peoplemover.
Police are appealing for the owners of those cars to come forward.
Police have not found Mrs Wang's handbag and would not comment on whether it contained takings from a store she owned and which she had just left.
About 20 police are working on Mr's Wang's homicide investigation and about 25 officers from outside the district have been called in to give added support after the fourth homicide in two weeks.
With no description of those involved Mr Tims was blunt in his message to the media, "We need the public's help."
Mr Tims said despite the number of homicide investigations police were in high spirits and reassured the public that Counties-Manukau was a safe place.
"If you need assistance then it's important that you ring the police immediately..."
Police today handed out to the public a leaflet, Safeguarding Your Handbag, outlining ways in which people could ensure they were not targets for opportunistic crime.
Mr Tims said it was important that in any crime people needed to comply and follow directions.
"The victims shouldn't confront or challenge the offender."
NZPA asked if police were sending mixed messages after liquorstore owner Navtej Singh had complied with his attacker but was still fatally shot.
"It's wrong to compare the homicides. Each homicide is unique, the facts are unique and the circumstances are unique. I wouldn't want to compare each homicide."
Mr Tims would not be drawn on whether Mrs Wang was wrong to chase after her attacker.
"All I can really say is for victims - don't confront the offenders, call for help."
Mr Tims said the police would make people accountable for the crimes.
"I don't think it [crime] is escalating. "
People with any information can contact police on 0508 OP MANUKAU (0508 6762685).