Taxi driver assaulted in Tauranga

Two men have been arrested but two more are sought by police after a taxi driver was assaulted in Tauranga.

Police said the taxi picked up four men from the Welcome Bay shops and drove to Ohauiti Road on Wednesday evening.

Once he stopped, the driver was put in a headlock and attacked by the front seat passenger and one man in the rear of the vehicle.

The driver managed to get out of the taxi but the assault continued until a neighbour yelled at them.

The offenders ran away but about half a dozen residents who came to the victim's aid were able to restrain one of the men.

A second man was arrested a short time later by a dog handler.

The victim, a 40-year-old man, spent the night in hospital with head injuries and was discharged yesterday.

Police have CCTV footage from the taxi of a third man they want to identify. It is not believed he physically took part in the assault but was part of the group.

A fourth man who was not captured on the camera is also sought.

Two men, aged 18 and 19, appeared in Tauranga District Court yesterday charged with aggravated robbery and have been remanded in custody until next Tuesday.

Detective Sergeant Iain Chapman said: "I have to praise the response of local residents who came to the victim's aid. Although we never want the public to put themselves in danger we couldn't do the job that we do without the invaluable help of people willing to stand up for what is right."

Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Sergeant Chapman at Tauranga police on 07 577 4300 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.


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