• July 19th, 2019
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Suspected Namibian crime syndicate busted in S.A.

WINDHOEK - The head of the local Interpol Bureau, Deputy Commissioner Immanuel Sam, said they could not confirm whether the five men arrested in Vaal, a substantial urban area near Johannesburg, South Africa, accused of kidnapping, extortion, armed robbery, assault to cause GBH and masquerading as police officers targeting people selling their goods online, are indeed Namibians.

The brother of one of the suspects who recognised his elder brother from a screen-grab shot is adamant his brother has indeed been arrested in South Africa, and says he confirmed the information with a woman with whom his brother has a child, and with other sources.

According to SA People News, all the suspects who  are Namibian nationals were detained and were due to appear in the Vanderbiljpark Magistrate’s Court this week, after they were arrested in a sting operation in which fake diamonds, fake drugs and a stash of fake South African currency were seized.

Mybroadband.co.za stated that the gang that operated in the Vaal area has been going for five years and trapped online car sellers with an elaborate scam. 

Carte Blanche, an investigative TV programme which assisted a specialised police unit that arrested the syndicate, described the gang as “dangerous” and said they targeted people who advertised their vehicles on the OLX classified website.

Police seized fake diamonds, fake drugs and a large amount of counterfeit money. The suspects were arrested following several complaints of kidnapping, assault and armed robbery by several victims whom they targeted, pretending they wanted to buy the goods the victims advertised online.

Sam told New Era yesterday that they sent a request to Interpol South Africa and the response is still outstanding.  “Even that so-called suspect (name withheld), it is Home Affairs that needs to confirm that. We need their passport and fingerprints to confirm if they are Namibians and not by name only,” he said. 

He said once they get information from South Africa they will forward a request to Home Affairs to confirm whether the individuals are indeed Namibians. “It might be others who are using Namibian documents and are not Namibians – and that can’t be confirmed by the police. Home Affairs can confirm whether their passports were legally issued in Namibia and they are indeed Namibians.”

In addition, Sedibengster.com stated that in the past months Ster received a number of reports of unsuspecting motorists selling their cars online and were lured to the Vaal Triangle 60 kilometres outside Johannesburg where they faced armed kidnapping, extortion and severe beatings. 

Furthermore, Mybroadband.co.za explained how the scam works. It is alleged that a syndicate member contacts the vehicle seller and lures him (or her) to a meeting in Vanderbijlpark to buy the vehicle. At this meeting the seller is introduced to a second member of the group who shows the seller a bag full of cash and diamonds. The seller is then told the ‘diamonds’ must be sold to a third party to make up the rest of the cash to pay for the vehicle.

The website reports that the victim is taken to a nearby house and told to wait for the rest of the money to arrive. Out of the blue fake police officers then storm the house and accuse the victims of being involved in illicit diamond dealing. The victims are then taken to separate rooms, if there are more than one, where they are threatened that they will be taken to jail ‘where they will be raped’. The victims are then forced to transfer money to the criminals’ accounts and hand their bank cards to the criminals with their PINs. Some of the victims were forced to withdraw money from a bank, while others were held captive. After the victims handed over their money to the criminals, they were told that they would be killed if they went to the police after being released.

Selma Ikela
2018-10-18 09:09:10 9 months ago

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