Hijack risk for ‘Johns’

2016-04-11 11:36
A view from the inside of a car of Prince Alfred street where prostitutes frequent.

A view from the inside of a car of Prince Alfred street where prostitutes frequent. (Ian Carbutt, The Witness)

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Pietermaritzburg - Hijackers have a new strategy and all men who frequent Pietermaritzburg’s red light districts should be very wary of it.

Picking up a sex worker from the roadside may cost you more than you expect with a syndicate now targeting unsuspecting men distracted by carnal interludes in dark city corners.

With two similar incidents recently, Pietermaritzburg police believe a pattern may be arising and have warned residents to steer clear of prostitutes.

Pietermaritzburg police spokesperson Mthokozisi Ngobese said officers will be conducting an intelligence driven operation in the CBD after two vehicles were hijacked by armed men on April 1 and April 3.

Ngobese said the same modus operandi was used in both incidents but building the case is becoming increasingly difficult because victims are either not reporting the crime or reporting wrong information to hide what they were doing when they were robbed.

According to the two positive cases police are working with, the armed gang is believed to be working with city prostitutes to lure customers into darkened areas where the gang can strike easily.

“Our information revealed that this gang is targeting people who purchase the services of prostitutes at night. It is possible the gang is working with the prostitutes,” Ngobese said, explaining the gang’s tactics.

“When a customer stops, the prostitute jumps into the car and gives the conditions of her service. If the customer accepts, the prostitutes will purposefully direct them to dark, bushy areas where the hijackers are striking.”

It is believed the gang members spring from the bushes and force the driver and the prostitute out of the vehicle with guns before stealing the vehicle and speeding off.

Both recent hijackings took place in and around Burger Street and Prince Alfred Street.

Ngobese said police believe there are more than two recent victims, but the victims are reporting the hijackings at other city police stations to cover up where the incident actually took place.

“We believe some victims are reporting wrong facts about where the car was stolen and what the victims were doing when the car was stolen. They do not want to admit to what had happened. This is making our job very difficult,” Ngobese said.

“Prostitution seems to be one the root crimes that influences other crimes in our city. We urge victims of this syndicate to come forward and report the details accurately so we can apprehend this gang.”

• amil.umraw@witness.co.za

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  hijacking  |  sex workers

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