BOP resort director found guilty for raping staff

Pihi Hei. Photo: Matt Shand/Stuff.

The man accused of treating two foreign workers as sex slaves at his Bay of Plenty retreat has been found guilty of rape.

Former Maraehako Bay Retreat director Pihi Hei had been on trial at the Tauranga District Court on 26 sex charges, including five of sexual violation by rape, and one charge of stupefaction.

On Thursday, the jury returned guilty verdicts to 25 of those sex charges, plus the charge of stupefaction.

He was found not guilty of one charge of indecent assault.

In their closing, the Crown says Hei preyed on particular type of woman and used their vulnerability, dependency and reluctance to report offences to take sex from them at his isolated retreat.

Both complainants were young, petite Asian woman whom Hei had limited interaction with when he offered them the position of being an exchange worker at his resort.

The Japanese victim travelled to Maraehako Bay Retreat after responding to an advertisement asking for "nice Japanese people to help clean paradise".

"He said it was paradise," she says through tears at Tauranga District Court.

"Maybe paradise for him but for me it is just a hell."

The woman was picked up from the airport from Hei, forced to kiss him and then driven to a Hamilton motel were he booked them into a single room.

She says she felt obligated to comply because he was her employer.

It was at the hotel she was raped for the first time by Hei.

"I try to push him away but he was too heavy... I was too weak."

She then tried to get Hei to stop by telling him she was menstruating.

Hei then forced her to give him oral sex grabbing her head with his hands.

She considered running, but had nowhere to go and didn't know who to speak to as she had just arrived in the country.

A sense of shame, confusion and honour made her travel with Hei to the Maraehako Bay Retreat, between Te Kaha and Waihau Bay, the next day.

In the days following she described being raped daily and treated like a sex slave.

"I keep asking him to stop," she says. "I was begging him don't."

After she became ill after being forced to drink 10 glasses of alcohol, and thinking she had been drugged, she finally managed to convince Hei she needed to go to the hospital or she might die.

After making to Auckland she reported the rape to police who started making enquiries which led them to locate another victim of Chinese-descent who had also been raped by Hei.

That victim says Hei raped her in 2013 when she worked at the retreat and he became increasingly more physical as days went on.

"After a week sometime when cooking he would tell jokes and he would touch my waist," she says.

"I don't like it. I feel he don't respect me."

She says this behaviour continued leading up to a night she says she was raped in late 2013 after Hei had demanded a foot massage from her.

Afterwards she was dragged into nearby bedroom and raped by Hei. Her pleas for him to stop ignored.

After the alleged rape she says she waited for Hei to fall asleep before having a shower and returning to her room.

The next morning she says she awoke to find Hei sleeping beside her and she says she was raped again.

"I remember saying how could you do this to me?" she says.

Hei gave off the impression he was in a relationship with the victim to keep the offending under wraps.

-Stuff.co.nz/Matt_Shand




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