Man arrested for posing as Hawks investigator, running extortion racket, denied bail

2019-05-28 14:29
Outside the Hawks building. (Gallo Images)

Outside the Hawks building. (Gallo Images)

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A 45-year-old man who allegedly masqueraded as an investigator from the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI), commonly known as the Hawks, has been denied bail.

Gabriel Paul was arrested last Friday after a two-month investigation into complaints from different government officials and business people that he was promising to destroy case dockets or files that they were associated with, in exchange for huge amounts of money.

Paul appeared in the Krugersdorp Magistrate's Court on Monday, facing charges of extortion and impersonating a police official, Hawks spokesperson Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi said.

He was denied bail and the case was postponed to June 3.  

READ: Hawks to swoop on ANC eThekwini councillors in corruption case - report

"He apparently contacted his victim and informed him of a criminal investigation against him and of an imminent warrant of arrest. If the victim is willing to pay cash, he will make the docket disappear or quash the charges and arrest," said Mulaudzi.

Paul remains in custody until his next appearance.

On Tuesday, News24 reported that the man's modus operandi entailed calling and sending text messages to subjects of Hawks investigations, and extorting varying sums of money in return for allegedly destroying case files, Mulaudzi said.

The victims fell for the scam, as the man even had a WhatsApp status that had an image of a Hawks logo, and he provided genuine bank accounts where money would be deposited.

Mulaudzi said other similar investigations were at advanced stages and that arrests were expected soon.

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Read more on:    hawks  |  johannesburg ­  |  fraud  |  crime

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