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Published on Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Canadian backpacker bashed in Taupo attack

A report in The Dominion Post says that another overseas backpacker has been attacked in Taupo, less than two months after Scottish tourist Karen Aim was murdered in the town.

Taupo police have ruled out any connection between Ms Aim's murder and two serious assaults in the town during the weekend.

A 32-year-old Canadian tourist was admitted to hospital with a fractured skull after the first attack.

Police said the tourist was knocked unconscious and robbed outside the Silver Fern backpackers hostel in Tamamutu St at 4am.

He was in a serious but stable condition in Rotorua Hospital yesterday.

A 20-year-old Taupo man was robbed of his shoes by the same offender a short time later, police said.

Senior Sergeant Tony Jeurissen said there was no link between the weekend's assaults and Ms Aim's murder on January 16, about 112 kilometres away from the latest incidents.

Assaults happened in all New Zealand centres, he said. Society should be concerned at the level of violence that took place every weekend. "What happened in Taupo is not unusual from what occurs in other centres. The concern is why is it happening."

Tourism Holdings chief executive Trevor Hall said there were isolated events of violence at many international tourist destinations. However, New Zealand's reputation as a safe tourist destination could suffer if backpacker attacks kept happening.

A 17-year-old Auckland youth appeared in Taupo District Court yesterday, charged with two aggravated robberies on Sunday.

He was remanded in custody and is to reappear in court tomorrow.

A Report by The Mole from The Dominion Post

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