Friday, November 30, 2012

New Zealand: Assailants Who Attacked, Robbed French Tourists Forced to Accept Responsibility

As a follow-up to my July 9, posting concerning the assault and robbery of two French hitchhikers, both 21, in the Papamoa area when the two victims were picked up by a vehicle with two male occupants, are now having to accept responsibility for their actions.

Defendant Che Bridger, 24, has pleaded not guilty in the attack on the two Frenchmen, while Bo-Tamati Rawiri, 26, from Ngraruwahia, has already pleaded guilty to the charges and will appear in the Tauranga District Court on December 5 for sentencing. Both men have been in custody since July.

The two French tourists were hitchhiking from Tauranga to Rotorua when they were picked up by Bridger and Rawiri on the afternoon of July 7, after which they were driven to an abandoned Shell service station on State Highway 2 near Welcome Bay Road in Papamoa where they were allegedly beaten and robbed and had their packs, clothing, passports and cash and money stolen.

COMMENT: As I have said on numerous occasions in the past, New Zealand is not a low-risk destination, as demonstrated by my numerous postings over the last two years. 

Visitors must have a keen sense of personal security awareness and deliberately take action that will reduce their vulnerability to violent crime.

Although many visitors do hitch-hike to save money, it is not recommended, given the large number of visitors who have been victimized in the past.

Additionally, many violent crimes occur late at night and after midnight, which is why I urge even the immortal to not walk at night, particularly alone.