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New Zealand

Tourists warned about South Island danger spots  Jan 20, 2009

Canterbury's tourism body is asking its members to tell visitors of danger spots in a bid to keep them safe.

In the latest South Island attack on a tourist, an Australian woman fought off a man in Nelson about 2pm on Sunday.

The 24-year-old Melbourne woman escaped shaken but unharmed after her plight was seen by a passing motorist, who chased the attacker when he fled into nearby Auckland Point School.

Detective Aaron Kennaway said the man had followed and struck up a conversation with the woman before trying to drag her into the school yard.

Police are looking for a European in his 40s, 182cm tall, of skinny build, unshaven and wearing blue jeans, a black short-sleeve top and an orange and black baseball cap.

Kennaway said the attempted abduction had "sexual overtones" and could have ended badly. The man had told the woman his name was Pete and he was visiting Nelson from Christchurch.

The attack follows last Thursday's sexual assault on a Dutch couple at the Five Mountains Holiday Park in Tuatapere, west of Invercargill.

Christchurch and Canterbury Marketing chief executive Christine Prince said tourists were susceptible to attack because they unknowingly entered dangerous places.

"One of the things we can tell tourists is the protocols to follow and where to be extra careful."

The attacks were a concern, but it was good they received media attention, Prince said.

"In some other parts of the world, the attacks would not receive the attention as they happen all the time," she said.

New Zealand was still considered a safe destination, but tourists would be safer if they were told of the risks, she said.

Senior Sergeant Nicky Sweetman, of the Christchurch police, said attacks on tourists were not counted separately in assault figures.

"Attacks on tourists are not on the increase but they do get a lot of media attention," Sweetman said.

Other tourists who have fallen victim to South Island criminals include two South Koreans who were robbed in Blenheim in December, and Irish tourist was attacked in April and a group of eight English tourists were stabbed and beaten by five men in Christchurch, also in April.

Tourists warned about South Island danger spots
South Island, New Zealand

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