Police described the attack as “shocking.” Image / file
Written by Liu Chen from RNZ
Warning: the graphic image may disturb some people
A man vacationing in the heated swimming pools in Rotorua sustained a broken bone and bruises on his face after being attacked.
Willingtonian, who did not want to use his name, was with his friends who came from all over the country to cycle in Rotorua over the weekend.
He said six of them decided to go to the thermal pools to relax after a long day of cycling on Saturday, but it was near 11pm and many businesses were closed, so they went to a pool near Yo-Tabu.
Another group of seven or eight men and women was nearby in the pool, according to the man.
“We thought they were a family so we didn’t think there would be any problem … They were talking and we were talking too,” he said.
About 20 minutes later, he said, when some people from the other group began to leave the pools, three men and his friends approached him.
“They were carrying bottles of alcohol. They started swearing at us… I can’t hear them clearly. They just said,“ Talk to me. ”I said we could leave if they didn’t want us there, but they didn’t. He said,“ Don’t let us go. ”
He said that four of his friends ran to the beach while being chased by some men.
He and another man couldn’t leave the pool.
“The [punches] Hold for 15 to 20 minutes, and scrutinize the water. “
Three of his friends ran to hide in the woods while another friend was pulled from the truck as he was trying to drive away – he said he ran barefoot to State Highway 5 and eventually one car stopped and I helped him call the police.
“Five more cars passed,” the man said.
The man said that even after he and his friend got out of the pool, as the attackers were leaving, one of the members got out of the car and punched them again.
The man said he suffered a minor facial fracture and would continue to be treated in Wellington.
He said the attackers also took all of their belongings in the car – including a mountain bike, surfing equipment, and construction tools worth over $ 7,000.
After spending 18 years in New Zealand, the man said he was never subjected to anything like an attack.
“It never happened before. I’ve been riding a mountain bike in Rotorua for over 10 years, and I’ve also been to that hot pool for over 10 years. Nothing like that has happened … It’s ruined our Christmas holidays.”
Police said they called at 11.50 pm on Saturday for reports of a group of males assaulting a group of pool visitors.
The incident was defined as assault and theft, and referred to victim support, according to a police statement.
Investigator Sgt. Anthony Colby said the investigation into the incident was continuing and that officers were pursuing strong investigation lines.
“Fortunately, this type of incident is rare, but extremely horrific. We are doing everything we can to support the victims and hold these perpetrators accountable.”
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