A group of visitors to Kawakawa’s iconic Hundertwasser toilets got rather more than a ‘traditional Kiwi welcome’ as they visited the facility late Tuesday afternoon. A couple of (local?) thugs decided to beat and rob them.
The assault was covered by the Northern Advocate, which said that the group was on a scavenger hunt, for which one of the tasks was to be photographed outside of the ‘world famous’ public convenience.
As the photo was being snapped a man and woman approached the group of Auckland university students and began to harangue them.
One of the local police officers told the press:
“Both asked the group, “What are you doing in our town?”, before the man held one of the male victims up by his T-shirt and punched him in the head.
Meanwhile, the woman took the camera from one of the female students and pushed another to the ground, where she kicked her several times. She then turned her attention to the last female in the group and punched her twice in the head.
The male offender then tried to punch the second male student, which was followed by a scuffle on the ground, Mr Raitt said…
One was described as a male Maori, about 18 to 20-years-old, skinny and with short black hair. The other was a 16 to 18-year-old female Maori, also described as skinny, with long black hair tied up in a pony tail…” more here
Police are appealing to the public for help in catching the two thugs.
We note that the identities and nationalities of the victims has not been released to the press, from this we infer that they were probably international students and the local authorities may be keen to minimise any global interest the muggings may attract.
Of course, this isn’t the first time that innocent tourists have been attacked and robbed whilst visiting Northland, as any reader of this blog will know. Other posts about crime in the ‘lawless north’ may be found here.
You may recall that in May three young French tourists were beaten and robbed as they camped on the roadside in near Mangamuka, east of Kaitaia, by two men posing as police officers.
We hear that little progress has been made in apprehending those responsible and the trail seems to have gone cold since the victims returned to France. Is the message getting out that international visitors are a soft target in Northland?
At the time of the Mangamuka assaults we said that Northland seemed to be a particularly risky place for visitors, with many of the aggravated robberies on tourists overly violent and aggressive. See French tourists thought they were going to die.
For background you may like to read :
“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
and two related posts “Tourist Beaters Up Un-Maori” and “French Tourists Back in Northland to Help Catch Attackers“
A good reason perhaps to give the region a wide berth until its crime problem is sorted out once and for all?
Also in the news today – Unemployed Kaitaia teenager Jameel Job, 17 is to be sentenced for the brutal murder of semi-retired school teacher Barbara Julian, whom he bashed to death during a home invasion in Kaitaia, Northland, in November 2009.
News reports at the time stated that the 70 year old grandmother had told her niece she was thinking about leaving town because people in the street were frightening her. See also: “It could have happened at any house”
f you’re planning to take a holiday, or migrate to 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.
Some other recent tourist attacks and robberies in Northland include:
A family of Swiss tourists that were assaulted and racially abused in Kaitaia
Anke Kuballa and Marc Busch from Germany who were robbed in Whangarei
Two German tourists attacked in Paihia
Three Chinese tourists attacked and robbed at Te paki, 90 Mile Beach, Northland
French tourist Anthony Cressend, beaten and robbed at campsite in Ahipara
American campers Patrick Dykstra and Kelsey McGinley beaten and robbed at Whangarei Falls