KZN gangsters chop off women’s ponytails

2013-11-13 00:00

WOMEN in KwaDukuza, especially those with a beautiful head of hair, are afraid to step into the CBD after reports of thieves hacking off the hair of unsuspecting victims have surfaced.

So seriously is the town taking the attacks on nine women that Kwadukuza District Mayor Ricardo Mthembu said he had “declared war” on the criminals who cut women’s hair by asking police to catch the criminals.

The CBD has recently also seen several incidents of chain and jewellery snatching.

“What kind of way is that to treat young women? “Young women are scared,” Mthembu said.

Dubbed the “piranha gangs” by locals, it is believed that the thieves, much like their chain-snatching counterparts, roam the streets with scissors, looking for hair to steal.

Locals say virgin hair, as it is known, is regarded as the best quality hair for extensions and wigs.

The latest incident occurred on Thursday in Hulett Street near Asmals, when two men approached Stanger Manor resident Yvonne Naidoo.

“I thought they were going to take my phone because I was holding it at the time. They then took a pair of scissors and cut off my hair. It happened so fast, that I froze. The thugs then ran towards the taxi rank,” she said. “Young Indian women especially are terrified of such attacks, which follow hot on the heels of the ripping off of gold jewellery from around the necks and sometimes ears of women on the streets.

“This new crime adds to the lawlessness that is apparent on the streets of KwaDukuza,” she said.

Naidoo said that after her ordeal, she had spoken to numerous other victims.

However, she said she did not report the incident because it would just be a “waste of time”.

“Everyone is aware that women are being targeted; chain snatching continues on a daily basis.”

A local SAPS source said the thieves sell the hair to beauty salons, which turn them into hair extensions, wigs and weaves. The salons sell these for as much as R5 000 each.

The thieves are all male, according to nine victims who have had their hair cut off.

One of the victims, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said thieves will usually approach their victims on the street. “Some will even pull knives or guns on victims before chopping off their long ponytails.”

She said another victim was assaulted before her hair was cut off.

“The thieves are then able to sell the hair to beauty salons that turn around and sell the stolen bounty to unsuspecting customers looking for hair extensions.

“The crooks prefer women with long, straight hair and usually tell them to pull it into a ponytail.”

Business people are also concerned, saying shoppers would rather stay away from the CBD and take their business to safer malls outside the town.

A local salon owner said as many as three people a week come in offering hair for sale. The woman said she would not buy it because she does not know where it comes from.

“I thought they were going to take my phone because I was holding it at the time. They then took a pair of scissors and cut off my hair.”

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