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An Australian tourist suffered a serious eye injury when he was shot with a paintball gun while cycling near Hanmer Springs last night.
The cyclist was about 4km out of town on State Highway 7, on his way to Nelson, when he noticed a vehicle approaching about 6.10pm, police said.
"He was hit in the right eye by what he thought was a bird. He slowed, lost balance and fell of his bike."
The tourist looked back and saw what appeared to be a white or light-coloured van driving away from him.
When the man picked up the sunglasses he had been wearing, he noticed both lenses had come out and there was paint on the inside of the frames.
"He realised he had been shot with a paintball gun," police said.
The man was taken to Christchurch Hospital with a serious eye injury.
Police are making inquiries into the van, which was possibly lowered, including checking surveillance cameras.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Hanmer Springs police.