Fifth teen charged in attack on tourists
A 15-year-old boy has become the fifth teenager to be charged with the aggravated robbery of two young German tourists in Whakatane on Boxing Day.
The four already charged appeared in court on Friday. All were remanded in custody and their identities were suppressed.
The 15-year old arrested today will also appear with the four in the Whakatane District Court tomorrow. They face joint charges of aggravated robbery.
Police will oppose bail for all five people.
Three of those already charged are males aged, 14, 17 and 18. The fourth person is a 15-year-old girl. The 17-year-old is from the Whakatane area and the other three are from Opotiki.
Detective Senior Sergeant Greg Standen said the investigation team was not looking for anyone else in connection with the incident.
The couple were attacked early in the morning while they were freedom camping.
A witness who saw the young couple's injuries described the 18-year-old German woman's blonde hair as being stained red with blood. The tourist had a "massive" gash in her forehead.
The 19-year-old German man's teeth had been smashed in and his face was blackened and nearly "unrecognisable".
The two tourists were treated in hospital and are now spending time in the Bay of Plenty with friends.
Standen said the couple had shown "tremendous fortitude" to bounce back from the incident.
"When we spoke to them today they said they were happy that the whole of New Zealand had given them so much support, including letters, after this incident and this was very helpful to them to receive this amount of support, Standen said.
"They were overwhelmed by the generosity shown by New Zealanders."
Police had dealt with more than 200 emails of support and kind wishes from each end of the country for the tourists and experienced a huge amount of generosity by individuals and businesses offering all types of gifts, travel, and accommodation, Standen said.
He thanked all the members of public who came forward with information over the past few days.