Young tourists beaten, robbed in Whakatane

TALIA SHADWELL AND SIOBHAN DOWNES
Last updated 16:34 26/12/2013

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Weapons have been recovered by police following a vicious atttack in Whakatane that left a pair of German tourists with fractures and smashed teeth.

Four people have been arrested and a fifth is still being sought by police following the early morning attack on the pair who had been camping near a skatepark in Whakatane.

The young tourists were beaten and robbed after being awoken in their tent early this morning at the intersection of McAllister St and Beach St.

Police confirmed this afternoon that the 18-year-old German woman had suffered facial and arm injuries, including fractures, and the 19-year-old German man had suffered cuts and bruises, and had also lost some teeth.

Police confirmed they had recovered items believed to have been weapons used in the assault. For investigative reasons police were not prepared to confirm what these items were.

The pair had managed to get away from their attackers and sought assistance at a nearby property after the attack, while another person heard their screams and contacted police.

The offenders had been in the process of ransacking the tent when police arrived and they quickly fled before two of the group were tracked down by a police dog and handler.

Two further arrests were made a short time later, but police said they were still seeking another man in connection with the attack.

Police would not comment this afternoon on the ages of the people they had spoken with.

Meanwhile, the wider community has rallied around the German tourists, who have managed to speak to their parents in Europe, police said.

The public response to the tourists' plight had been "overwhelming," police said.

Members of the public had called offering donations and accommodation for the couple.

TOURIST ATTACKS

Many overseas visitors see New Zealand as a safe travel destination, but violent attacks on tourists in recent years paint a chilling picture.

October 2013 - French couple sleeping in a Napier car park attacked and pistol-whipped.

July 2013 - Two tourists assaulted and robbed while in a hot pool near Rotorua.

April 2013 - Three English tourists sleeping in their car in Paihia robbed at knifepoint. Canadian tourist also assaulted and robbed.

November 2012 - Two Austrian tourists assaulted with a bottle and robbed in Palmerston North.

August 2012: Female tourist indecently assaulted near Taupo backpackers' hostel.

July 2012 - Two French tourists assaulted and robbed hitch-hiking from Mt Maunganui to Rotorua.

May 2012: Czech woman murdered while hitch-hiking to Timaru.

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May 2012: Two tourists stabbed by a Taupo teenager.

December 2011 - 5-year-old Belgian girl staying in a Turangi campground with parents assaulted and raped by a local teenager.

December 2010 - German tourist knocked unconscious and robbed in Queenstown.

June 2010 - Czech tourist stabbed in Motueka backpackers.

May 2010 - Three French tourists staying in a campervan in Northland attacked and robbed.

- © Fairfax NZ News

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