Two French tourists were robbed as they hitch-hiked to Rotorua on Saturday.
Tauranga police are now hunting the two male assailants – both Maori or Pacific Islanders, aged 20 to 30 and "of extremely low intellect" – after the incident on State Highway 2 at Papamoa at 4pm.
The 21-year-old Frenchmen were hitch-hiking from Mt Maunganui when they were picked up. About five minutes later, the vehicle was driven into a layby on SH2 next to Welcome Bay Rd and parked behind an empty building.
The two tourists were then assaulted – suffering minor injuries – and their money, passports, some clothing and other possessions were stolen.
The vehicle was then driven towards Rotorua. It is described as a black, older model four-door sedan, in rough condition.
The registration number is thought to be ZR9879 or similar. This number is registered to a black Nissan Pulsar and inquiries are continuing into the vehicle.
Police want help from anyone who may have seen the two hitch-hikers being picked up or abandoned, or any information on the vehicle or the two men involved in the "violent attack".
Anyone with information is asked to contact Tauranga police on 075774300 or Crimestoppers on 0800555111.
- © Fairfax NZ News