Bloody but unbowed

2017-05-08 08:00
Sanjay Ramklowan shows where one of three hijackers pistol-whipped him and left him with an open gash on his forehead before they stole his Polo Vivo in Raisethorpe this week. This as police warn residents of crime hot  spots in the Northern areas.

Sanjay Ramklowan shows where one of three hijackers pistol-whipped him and left him with an open gash on his forehead before they stole his Polo Vivo in Raisethorpe this week. This as police warn residents of crime hot spots in the Northern areas. (Ian Carbutt)

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As police on Friday warned of crime hotspots in the Northern areas, a plucky local man described his hijacking ordeal in which his Polo Vivo was taken.

In a bold attempt to save his vehicle, Sanjay Ramklowan pulled his car keys from the hands of a hijacker in Raise­thorpe this week.

This incident is one of many recent hijackings that police are currently investigating as hijackers target the busy area of Raisethorpe and lower Northdale.

Ramklowan’s bravery did not deter the hijackers, though, as one of the three men hit him on his forehead with the butt of the gun before stealing his vehicle.

Ramklowan said he finished loading the groceries into the boot of his Polo Vivo at a shopping centre in Raisethorpe when the hijacking occurred in the parking lot.

He said it was around 6.50 pm and that the car guard had helped him to unpack the trolley.

“I gave the car guard a tip and opened my car door when three men suddenly appeared behind me. The car guard was nowhere to be seen,” he said.

He said one of the men pulled the car keys from his hand but Ramklowan said he pulled the keys back, all the while looking at the hijacker’s face.

Ramklowan is the chairman of the City Taxi Association and although this was the first time he had been hijacked, he said “being in the taxi industry we are not new to such incidents so I was not scared”.

After he pulled the key away from the hijacker, Ramklowan said the other man showed him a firearm and said he would shoot him. “I told him to shoot me but he hit me on my forehead with the butt of the gun,” he said.

The blood rushed down his face and clouded his vision but when he opened his eyes, Ramklowan said he saw the men driving off in his car.

He said he approached a nearby security guard and alerted him to the hijacking.

“I told the security guard that it was my car they were driving off in. I told him to shoot at the car but the security guard just looked at me,” he said.

Ramklowan applauded the police on reacting to the scene swiftly but said his white Polo Vivo has not yet been recovered and no arrests have been made.

Ramklowan had to receive four stitches on his forehead.

“I cannot believe how dangerous Raisethorpe has become. It seems they are targeting Polo Vivos because I heard of other Vivos being hijacked in the area recently,” he said.

He said the Raisethorpe CBD has become a major hotspot for hijackings.

Mountain Rise police spokesperson Captain Gay Ebrahim agreed and warned locals to remain vigilant at all times, especially in the Raisethorpe CBD and surrounding areas.

“Raisethorpe CBD, Allandale and the lower Northdale area have become hotspots for hijackings in recent months,” she said.

“The majority of vehicles that are targeted are older models that have no alarm or tracker device.”

She said another crime hotspot was the intersection near Forest Hill Primary on Chota Motala Road.

Ebrahim said the police noticed hijackers were operating in groups of three or more and were “armed and dangerous”.

“The community needs to be more vigilant and take necessary security measures,” she said.

“People need to be aware of what is happening in their surroundings while walking to or climbing into your vehicle.”

She asked that people park in well-lit areas, that they do not drive with their windows down or their doors unlocked and that they avoid driving late at night as crime was more likely to take place in the evening.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  hijacking

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