Monday, December 24, 2007
A gang of about 50 rampaging students dressed as Santa have run amok at a cinema complex in New Zealand.
Staff said the Santas, who were apparently drunk, damaged property and frightened film-goers at the Hoyts Cinema complex in Christchurch by shouting and swearing.
Manager Derek Rive said the "hooligans" abused patrons, chanted obscenities, ripped down posters and knocked over cardboard figures advertising films.
Cinema patron Kate Gorman, 35, was waiting to see the movie "Enchanted" with her two children when the group arrived.
"They just caused absolute chaos. They kicked over the signs, kicked over the Christmas tree," she said.
Her children, Gabriella, 6, and Jackson, 7, had been confused by the incident.
"Jackson said to me 'are those Santa's helpers gone crazy, mum?' I said 'no, they're just idiots, basically," said Mrs Gorman.
"They were funny at first. But then they got out of hand and then I started to get scared," said her son Jackson.
Security cameras caught the action, but Mr Rive said with their hats, white beards and suits, the rampaging Santas cannot be identified.
He said he has no objections to the group coming back but only if they obey the rules.
"Apparently they were drunk or intoxicated. If they want to come back, they're welcome to. But they have to abide by the house rules like all our patrons do," he said.
As they left, the Santas triggered a fire alarm, forcing several hundred patrons to evacuate the complex for half an hour.
© Independent Television News Limited 2007. All rights reserved.