The three French tourists beaten during a campervan robbery in Mangamuka, Northland, have spoken to stafff at the Dominion Post about their ordeal. The paper has named the men as Antonin Schopfer, 27, Guillaume Rey, 26, and Sebastien Vautier, 29. The friends say that the men who attacked them were posing as police officers.
“The trio were nearing the end of a three-week campervan trip and were tired after driving back from Cape Reinga and parked in a rest area near Mangamuka, east of Kaitaia. They were fast asleep when there was a knock on the window about 1.30am.
Mr Schopfer said two men claimed they were police officers and wanted them to open up.
When that failed they asked for money, and the frightened Frenchmen handed about $500 through a window.
But the cash was not enough.
“They started kicking the door and it exploded. They came into the van and started beating one of my friends and the other got punched in the face,” Mr Schopfer said
“They were saying they had a gun so the three of us really thought we were going to die. It was the worst moment of my life and it was the same for my friends.”
Though Mr Schopfer escaped injury, Mr Vautier was kicked and repeatedly punched – losing a tooth – while he was still in bed.
The two men made off with two cellphones and a camera.
The trio say they struggle to understand why such violence was necessary.
“They could have taken everything without beating us,” Mr Schopfer said. “One of them was beating my friend for no reason. Maybe they thought we had more money but my friend kept saying: `No, we’ve given you all the money’.”
Northland seems to be a particularly risky place for tourists at present, with many of the aggravated robberies on tourists overly violent and aggressive. It hasn’t helped either that some people have very publicly called for free campers to be ‘shot’. Calls like these invite the victimisation of innocent tourists.
“The Land Of Misadventure” – …”Northland has a high level of unemployment, a lot of low- income people and there are criminal groups targeting tourists at popular spots. Locals get robbed as well, but the tourists offer richer pickings for the criminals.
Though locals may lose their shoes, cellphone and the small sum of cash in their pockets, tourists were known to carry a lot more money, have expensive cameras and sometimes iPods and laptops. The latest attack and robbery of the three Frenchmen was typical…” Dom Post
We’ve often called for tourists, especially those using campervans, to be given more information about the dangers of crime in New Zealand and advice about areas to steer clear of. Sadly, it seems that the message still isn’t getting out.
If you’re planning to take a holiday in New Zealand be sure to find out about the risks before you leave. If you are British you may wish to read the travel advisory issued about New Zealand by the Foreign and Commonwealth office here.
Other recent tourist attacks and robberies in New Zealand include:
A family of Swiss tourists that were assaulted and racially abused in Kaitaia, Northland
Anke Kuballa and Marc Busch from Germany who were robbed in Whangarei, Northland
Two German tourists attacked in Paihia, Northland
Asian woman, (probably Japanese) age 22, raped in her room by 2 teenagers in a home invasion in Opotiki, Northland
Three Chinese tourists attacked and robbed at Te paki, 90 Mile Beach, Northland, by two men they’d stopped to help
French tourist Anthony Cressend, beaten and robbed at campsite in Ahipara, Northland
Two Australian tourists robbed at knifepoint for their holiday money in Te Puke, SE of Tauranga.
Japanese tourist age 23 (female) kidnapped, robbed and assaulted in Rotorua by four men
French tourist (male) raped at gunpoint near Opotiki,
American peace corp twins Adam and Alex Rahmlow, 21 were robbed of all their possessions by a man they tried to help in Amberley, Christchurch.
Dutch couple raped and robbed on a campsite in Tuatapere, NW of Invercargill, whilst on their honeymoon. (Dutch govt. issued a travel warning about NZ)
Two Koreans were attacked and robbed of their possession which included a laptop computer by a man claiming to be a gang member in Blenheim.
British tourist worker sexually assaulted near Hururu Falls, Northland when she was dragged off a walking track.
Canadian tourist Jeremie Kawerninski, kidnapped, assaulted and robbed in Lower Hutt, Wellington
Dutch couple robbed and sexually attacked Haruru Falls, Northland whilst on honeymoon.
Two British women robbed and raped in their campervan at Tokomaru Bay, north of Gisborne.
Japanese tourist subjected to a prolonged and brutal sex attack in a communal area of a backpacker’s hostel in Turangi, Taupo.
Scottish woman Karen Aim brutally murdered by a youth in Taupo.
Korean man Jae Hyeon Kim decapitated with a spade by white supremacist.
Japanese tourist robbed at gunpoint in Oamaru.
Irish cycle tourist Paul Mack bashed, robbed and urinated on throughout his NZ tour.
6 English and Danish tourists attacked and stabbed in Cashel Mall, Christchurch for having “foreign accents.”
Russian couple Denis Khotchenko and Lera Nesterova beaten and robbed in Milford, Auckland
English woman knifed and sexually assaulted in a toilet block at an A1 motor camp in Kaikoura
American campers Patrick Dykstra and Kelsey McGinley beaten and robbed at Whangarei Falls, Northland.
Australian tourist sexually assaulted on a street in broad daylight in Nelson.
Australian tourist subjected to a sex attack by Maia Crawford Rongonui whilst walking home to a backpackers in Christchurch.
Canadian tourist left with a fractured skull outside Silver Fern backpackers in Taupo.
Dutch tourist beaten and robbed at Lake Rotorua.
British man Paul Speakman and his young son beaten and robbed in a campervan at Athenree Gorge, Katikati.
Chinese woman attacked for speaking Chinese on a train approaching Petone.
Scottish visitor Stuart Martin who was left in a coma and with a boot print on his face after a street bashing in Taradale, Christchurch.