Key Points:

Rotorua police are hunting for four men who robbed, assaulted and abducted a female Japanese tourist.

Police have condemned the attack, saying the group likely targeted tourists by waiting outside one of the city's largest hotels.

The 23-year-old tourist suffered bruising to the neck and arm when the men ripped her bag from her shoulder and knocked her to the ground.

She was then driven around and assaulted while the men demanded money, before dumping her on a street about 3km away.

"Targeting tourists is particularly abhorrent in towns like Rotorua where we rely on tourism," the officer in charge of the investigation, Detective Sergeant John Wilson, said yesterday.

Mr Wilson said the woman's ordeal began when she was walking to Rydges Hotel on Fenton St on Tuesday night. Two men approached her about 10.30pm, one demanding the bag which she had over her shoulder.

The woman tried to run but the two men grabbed the bag, breaking the strap and knocking her down in the process. They escaped to a waiting car, which the woman ended up in during a scuffle that ensued for the bag.

She was assaulted in the vehicle. Two other men were inside the car, which dumped the woman on Hillcrest Ave about five minutes later.

She lost her bag, which contained her passport, cash in several currencies, and personal items, but left the country yesterday with her tour group after getting a replacement passport.

Mr Wilson said she was "remarkably composed" despite the traumatic incident, but police were eager to catch the offenders for what appeared to be a premeditated crime.

Police are appealing for sightings of the silver four-door vehicle in the Fenton St/Hillcrest Ave area about 10.30pm on Tuesday. A British witness said the vehicle may have been a Ford Escort or similar.