SWAKOPMUND - A judicial record was set by the Walvis Bay Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday that prosecuted and convicted Lukas Shoombe, 28, for robbing a British tourist of two cameras worth N$9 500 on Tuesday and jailed him for a year.
The wheels of justice in Namibia are known to revolve at a painfully slow pace and normally tourists are reluctant to open criminal cases because they are often afraid they could unnecessarily be dragged into drab court proceedings and lengthen their stay.
But on Wednesday, a brave prosecutor acted promptly and prosecuted Shoombe and convicted him for the theft from British tourist Richard Holland of a Nikon and a Canon camera worth N$9 500.
Erongo has in recent weeks been hit by a wave of attacks targeting tourists whose visits support the tourism sector, one of the important pillars of the Namibian economy.
Shoombe robbed Holland of a bag that contained a Nikon and Canon cameras at the coastal town on Tuesday that led to his arrest the same day and subsequently his record sentencing the next day.
Shoombe’s sentence was welcomed yesterday by the tourism fraternity as well as the Namibian police who are of the opinion that such crimes might look small on the eye, but have disastrous consequences for the entire tourism industry.
“This is the way we want the justice system, effective quick and decisive. Our industry is suffering because of petty crimes against tourists and it’s about time that we deal with criminals effectively,” a tour operator from Walvis Bay said yesterday.
The tour operator told New Era that crimes against tourists not only, especially those reported by the media are read online and deter tourists to visit Namibia at the end of the day.
“At the end of the day they will choose a different country for their holiday, which in turn influence our income,” he explained.
Shoombe’s sentencing comes just days after Nampol, issued a stern warning to motorists and tourists not to stop for any vehicles that appears to have run out of fuel or experience mechanical problems along deserted coastal roads as criminals use these tricks.
Deputy Commissioner Erastus Iikuyu says criminals pretending they have mechanical problems or under the pretence, their vehicles have run out of fuel have ambushed unsuspecting tourists after they pretended they need roadside assistance.
“Once people stop to assist them, these suspects rob them of their belongings,” Iikuyu warned tourists and other motorists earlier this week.