A 22 year old female Korean tourist was punched and robbed by two thugs as she walked in Taupo on Sunday. The attack took place on Huka Falls Road at around 5.40 pm when two men grabbed her from a passing car. Fortunately she wasn’t seriously injured although she is understandably shaken by her ordeal, we hope she’s feeling better soon.
Sadly attacks on tourists in this area are not uncommon. A group of 4 international tourists (their nationality was never released) was attacked whilst swimming at nearby Kerosene Creek a couple of months ago.
Despite all that Taupo is currently trying to push itself towards becoming a World Health Organisation “Safe International Community.”
The Taupo Safe District Committee put in action the Taupo Safe District Project Plan, which has a vision to see Taupo become a safe district to live, work and play in early 2009. If it gains accreditation Taupo will be recognised as a safe place to live.
The Award Ceremony is scheduled for 27th May 2010 , following a site visit to Taupo from Dr Carolyn Coggan Director of Safe Communities Foundation NZ and other certifying personnel working on behalf of the WHO.
We sincerely hope that tourists, who are already the target of violence and robberies in NZ because of their perceived vulnerability and relative wealth, aren’t suckered in to believing they can be more relaxed with their personal security. Using the “Safe International Community” badge as a marketing tool may be counterproductive because it may make tourists easier targets. It’s hardly going to reduce the crime figures or improve the country’s image abroad if that happens.
The small tourist town was shoved under the international spotlight when British visitor Karen Aim was clubbed to death and interfered with whilst walking home one night. Her attacker was a 14 year old youth who was later convicted of murder and sentenced to life with a non-parole period of 12.5 years. Prominent British composer and Master of the Queen’s Music, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, wrote a composition in Karen’s memory after being “moved and shocked” by her death.
It’s great to hear that a safer community initiative like this has been undertaken, more towns should do the same. It’s positive step in reducing crime and injuries for the benefit of the whole community and the impetus must be maintained if it is really going to be effective, just don’t use it to market the town to overseas visitors.
Today’s posts – click here