Arrest threat turns speedtrap-tweep into SA’s robin hood

2010-09-17 00:00

CONTROVERSIAL tweep, @PigSpotter, has remained active on twitter by tweeting the locations of speed traps and the occasional traffic police checkpoint.

He came under fire on Wednesday in an interview with Jo’burg based Talk Radio 702 when interviewer, Kieno Kammies raised concern that PigSpotter’s tweets may abet criminal activity.

PigSpotter, otherwise known as Cliff, said he did not want to aid criminals and drunk drivers and so agreed to stop tweeting the locations of roadblocks. He maintained he would continue tweeting about speed traps and accidents.

Despite his promise, at around 1.30 pm yesterday he tweeted, “Brown fuzz on grayston drive from william nicol pulling ppl over for seatbelts & cellphones.”

Spokesperson for the Johannesburg Metro Police Department, Wayne Minnaar described Cliff’s tweets as “definitely illegal” and said police were looking to arrest the renegade tweeter.

“Firstly, people under the influence of liquor can avoid roadblocks and cause accidents on the road. Secondly, criminals can plan their activities around the roadblocks,” Minnaar said.

Asked via twitter why recent posts lacked his usual chutzpah, PigSpotter replied, “trying to get 30 000 cops off my ass. Will return to ‘normal’ when the heat is off.”

The sudden attention has seen PigSpotter’s followers multiply rapidly. Before his Wednesday interview, he had 5 300 followers. At around 3 pm yesterday he had just under 11 000.

Chair of Justice Project SA, Howard Dembovsky, expressed concern at the situation.

“The threats of arrest and prosecution of the ‘PigSpotter’ has created a ‘Robin Hood’ scenario and the resultant huge following of the ‘PigSpotter’ had exactly the opposite effect to what the authorities should have tried to achieve,” Dembovsky said.

He added that government and public road safety initiatives should correct driver behaviours and save lives – “not making money or striving to become a hero”.

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