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Beached great white shark kicked in the jaws by gang of men who took selfies and laughed as it lay dying

Authorities in New Zealand are asking for information about the suspects involved in the horrific incident.
(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Police in New Zealand are searching for a group of men who they say pulled a great white shark out of the water and onto the beach, kicked it and tortured it, and then took selfies with it as it lay dying.

The horrific incident unfolded at Orewa Beach on New Zealand's Hibiscus Coast this past Thursday, January 2, according to Stuff, and footage captured at the scene showing a group of beachgoers trying to save the shark by pulling it back into the water.

A large crowd had gathered around the predator after it appeared to be stranded in shallow water, and though they did try to push it back in, it returned to shore a short while later and was confirmed dead.

While it was initially suspected that it was a natural death, it was later uncovered that a group of men had "purposefully caught [the shark] in a net," pulled it on to the shore, and "repeatedly kicked it, damaged its jaw, and took photos next to the dying animal, while laughing."

Other beachgoers reportedly tried to intervene and stop the men from torturing the animal, but had to back away when they became "exceptionally intimidating."

"Police and [the Department of Conservation] arrived on the scene as other beachgoers attempted to pull the shark back into the water," a source told Stuff. "The group of men gave false details to police and joined the larger group."

The police confirmed their officers assisted with crowd control and to help Surf Lifesaving lifeguards as they tried to save the shark and that they had received reports of a group of men kicking the predator before their arrival.

New Zealand's Department of Conservation is looking into the circumstances of the death and police investigating have asked anyone with information on the suspects to call 105 or DOC on 0800 362 468.

Great white sharks, which are listed as "vulnerable" globally by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, are fully protected in New Zealand waters and it is illegal to kill them. If caught, the offenders face fines of up to $250,000, as well as six months' imprisonment.