Robbed hitchhiker taken in by mayor

A Mexican hitch-hiker who was robbed at gunpoint in Hawke's Bay has been taken in by the Wairoa's mayor and given honorary citizenship.

Mayor Craig Little said as soon as he heard about the kidnapping yesterday, he rang the police and offered to put Roberto Arteago up at his farm.

"I just wanted to make sure he had a good experience," Little said.

"He's a real guy. He comes from Mexico City, which has 20 million people, and this is the sort of the thing he expects over there but not here.

"He's a bit shaken, but he knew not to worry about his possessions but to worry about himself.

"He handled himself really well and the cowards who picked him up took his valuables like his camera and things like that."

Police had done well and Arteago had been particularly pleased to get back the Swiss Army knife that was a gift from his girlfriend, Little said.

Arteago, 30, was a very clued up young lawyer and was chuffed by the hospitality.

When Little took Arteago into Wairoa people on the street were telling him they were sorry to hear what happened and Little gifted him the Wairoa tie, cufflinks and honorary citizenship.

Little said his wife had taken Arteago up to Waikaremoana for a bit of sightseeing this afternoon.

Three men aged 17, 19 and 22 were arrested early today.

They are due to appear in Gisborne District Court this week on aggravated robbery charges.

Arteago was picked up on State Highway 2 at the Napier-Taupo Road turnoff just north of Napier by three men in a ute.

The car was driven north towards Wairoa before stopping at the top of the Mohaka Hill. Arteago was ordered out of the car at pistol point before the car drove away.

A motorist came across him on the side of the highway about 10 minutes later and alerted police.

The Dominion Post