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Four arrested for attack on young tourists

Two German tourists are recovering in hospital after being beaten and robbed in Whakatane early this morning. Police have arrested four people and are searching for a fifth.

The 19-year-old man and 18-year-old woman were camping near the skatepark at the intersection of McAllister Street and Beach Street.

The pair were attacked after being awoken in their tent. The couple managed to get away and knocked at a house to seek assistance. A second person hearing screams also contacted the police.

Police staff were very quickly on the scene and the group of offenders, who had been ransacking the tent, fled as officers arrived.

A police dog and handler tracked to the river resulting in two arrests.

Police then made a further two arrests a short time later nearby. One person, believed to be a male juvenile is still being sought.

Both tourists are currently in Whakatane Hospital suffering from multiple cuts and bruises. Their families back in Europe have been notified.

Some personal property belonging to the couple is still missing and police are asking anyone in and around the vicinity of the skatepark and the river to keep an eye out for any items that might be linked to this incident.

Area Commander Inspector Sandra Venables: “This is an appalling and mindless attack on a young couple and incredibly sad that this will be their lasting memory of Christmas in our beautiful country. I must acknowledge both the members of the public who came to their aid and also the officers whose swift actions resulted in a number of early arrests."

Two male adults and two juveniles (one female and one male) are currently being spoken to by police.

The tourists are not being named and as arrests have been made media interviews with the couple will not be facilitated.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Whakatane Police on 07 308 5255.

Information can also be provided anonymously to the organisation Crimestoppers on 0800 555111

ENDS

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