An Australian couple, Brian, 62 and Jan Dodds, 59, were attacked on their 40-foot sailboat as it lay moored in an isolated area off Natovi Jetty on the island of Tailevu, Fiji, on May 3, 2008.
The couple’s boat was boarded at about 0300 as they lay asleep. Brian Dodds was beaten and tied up and his wife was sexually assaulted. The pirates stole a laptop, satellite phone and about AU$18,000 in cash. Police officials are said to know the identity of the robbers and are pursuing them. Brian and Jan Dodds were treated for minor injuries at a local hospital and released.
According to the Brisbane Times, media reports linked the crime to figures that showed the number of tourists in Fiji who reported attacks to police doubled in 2007 compared to 2006. This comes at a time when Fiji is trying to bolster its weak tourist economy.
The Fiji Times quoted Fiji Visitors Bureau Chairman Patrick Wong as saying that such attacks “left a serious negative image of Destination Fiji and would impact and deter visitors to our shores, impacting collectively on the recovery of our already fragile tourism industry.”