419 scammers kidnap US woman

2010-05-31 10:05

Johannesburg - The Hawks arrested four people implicated in a 419 scam at the weekend after they allegedly held a US woman hostage for nearly a month, an official said on Monday.

"Police believe the four lured the US citizen with a promise that she had won $1.06m (R8m)," Hawks spokesperson Musa Zondi said.

The gang started scamming her last year and fleeced $60 000 from her between April and July.

"After July, the communication went cold until they approached her again in April this year."

She was told to come to South Africa in person to claim her prize and bring $2 000.

Taken hostage

"She duly came and on arrival on April 15 they took her hostage from the airport and kept her in a house Albertsdal, Alberton for well over a month. She was fed once a day while in captivity."

The woman managed to free herself on May 22 after breaking the window of the room where she was kept hostage.

She sought help from the neighbours who contacted the police.

"Intensive investigations were conducted by the Johannesburg Hawks unit working alongside crime intelligence colleagues," said Zondi.

The four people - three Nigerians and a South African woman - were arrested on Saturday.

They were due to appear in the Johannesburg Magistrate's Court on Monday.

The US woman has since returned home.