Three German tourists were badly frightened but physically unharmed after two men, both known to police as members of the Mongrel Mob, confronted them at Ahipara.

The two men and a woman were told that they were on Maori land, and must pay koha. They were also told that they were required to share their cigarettes, and would need to hire the two men as guides.

The female tourist, who was reduced to tears, sent a text message to a friend who contacted the police in Kaitaia on Monday last week.

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Their problems had begun when their vehicle became stuck in soft sand at the Kaka Street access to 90 Mile Beach, a police spokesman said.

A friendly local had pulled the vehicle out, and it was then that they were told that they were on Maori land.

No threats had been made, the officer added, although the visitors were warned that they should go to Auckland immediately, for their own safety.

Police later arrested one of the gang members nearby on other matters, but no charges were laid over the incident.

Police escorted the visitors to their camp to retrieve their gear, however, and then to the local bottle shop to buy beer for the person who had pulled their vehicle out of the sand, before they left for the Hokianga.

- Northland Age