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Bad tourists: 'Scam' saw group refuse to pay for food, bully staff

Author
Ben Leahy,
Publish Date
Tue, 15 Jan 2019, 5:46AM
A man accused of being part of an unruly bunch of tourists. Photo / Jason Oxenham.
A man accused of being part of an unruly bunch of tourists. Photo / Jason Oxenham.

Bad tourists: 'Scam' saw group refuse to pay for food, bully staff

Author
Ben Leahy,
Publish Date
Tue, 15 Jan 2019, 5:46AM

Two restaurants have weighed in against a group of unruly tourists, accusing them of refusing to pay for meals after complaining they found hair in their food.

Staff at Mr India and The Backyard Bar & Restaurant in Northcote said a group ordered hundreds of dollars worth of meals at their restaurants before refusing to pay because they claimed there was hair in the food.

The group also were accused of littering Takapuna Beach at the weekend.

An inner city coffee shop lodged a complaint with police after a group refused to pay for a chocolate cake and abused the owner.

A woman covers her face when approached by the Herald. Photo / Jason Oxenham.
A woman covers her face when approached by the Herald. Photo / Jason Oxenham.

When the Herald tracked down some of the travellers as they checked out of the ibis Budget Hotel in the city centre yesterday, one of the men seen in Sunday's Takapuna Beach video warned there would be trouble if he was photographed.

The man said they were in New Zealand on holiday, before speeding off in a white van.

As he did so, his female passenger pulled her hoodie over her face and her door swung open, slamming into the car parked in front of them.

A man accused of being part of an unruly bunch of tourists. Photo / Jason Oxenham.
A man accused of being part of an unruly bunch of tourists. Photo / Jason Oxenham.

Roger Van Kempen, the manager of The Backyard Bar & Restaurant, said he recognised the man and little boy from the Takapuna video as part of a group of about 13 that caused a ruckus and tried to bully staff.

He claimed the group dined at his restaurant on January 3, put ants in their food and refused to pay for three meals worth about $55.

Challenged, one became aggressive.

"I looked at him and said, 'mate, you've got something coming. You either need to back up or get out'," Van Kempen said.

But the man continued to make a big scene, saying, "Do you know who we are?"

Rubbish reportedly left at Takapuna Beach by the tourists on Sunday. Photo / Supplied
Rubbish reportedly left at Takapuna Beach by the tourists on Sunday. Photo / Supplied

Van Kempen said he told the man, "I don't care who you are, you don't talk to people like that and you don't act like that."

Two nights later when Van Kempen wasn't working, the group refused to pay for two more meals worth almost $60, claiming there was hair in it, he said. They also returned for drinks last night but paid for them.

Van Kempen said they would be refused entry from now on.

Harvinder Kaur, owner of nearby Mr India, said the same group of about 15 people visited her restaurant.

She claimed they ate most of their food before putting hair in it and refusing to pay a $250 bill.

Krista Curnow said she was threatened by tourists at Takapuna Beach earlier that day.

Curnow said she asked the group to pick up their rubbish: "About four or five ladies stood around me ... in a half circle. They were saying they were going to hit me ... and I started walking backwards to get out of it.

"Even grandma and the child got involved, saying they wanted to punch my head in."

Video of the incident showed a boy shouting, "I'll knock your brains out".

One of the men accused of being an unruly tourist, who sped off when approached by the Herald. Photo / Jason Oxenham.
One of the men accused of being an unruly tourist, who sped off when approached by the Herald. Photo / Jason Oxenham.

Police are looking into what happened at Takapuna Beach on Sunday.

"Police will be speaking with those involved and will be referring them to [Auckland] Council with regard to their behaviour around the littering of rubbish," Inspector Kevin McNaughton said.

"Police would like to remind the public that offenders caught illegally dumping rubbish may be issued with a fine of up to $400."

The incidents come after a group of Irish travellers were run out of Queensland in Australia in 2018 after they were accused of scamming restaurants and fleecing residents out of thousands of dollars.

UNWELCOME GUESTS

Claims about tourist group:
About Jan 3: A group of about 13 tourists order drinks and four meals at Backyard Bar & Restaurant in Northcote. They claimed there were ants in a meal. They leave after paying for three meals.

About Jan 5: The same group return to the restaurant. They leave after not paying for two meals after claiming there was hair in them.

Jan 9: A group of travellers dine at Artwok eatery in Takapuna. They eat before threatening staff and walking out without paying.

Jan 12: A group of tourists check in to Ibis Hotel in Wyndham St for two nights.

Jan 13: A group left rubbish on Takapuna beach before threatening to 'knock the brains out' of a local who challenged their behaviour. Police say they will speak to those involved.

Jan 13: A family outside Ibis Hotel demand to use a man's scooter. The man says they were rude and demanding.

Jan 13: The group from the beach dine at Nandos in Albany and demand a refund after ordering meals. A group of travellers also dined at Mr India in Northcote where they only paid for one $16 meal but refused to pay for $250 worth of other food claiming there was hair in it.

Jan 14: The group check out of Ibis. The owner of Coffee Club next to the hotel reports them to police saying they were abusive and didn't pay for a piece of chocolate cake.

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