Underworld nightclub extortion case: 7 arrests and recorded calls with cops

2017-12-15 18:08
Seven suspects linked  to the underworld were arrested in Cape Town on Friday. (Caryn Dolley, News24)

Seven suspects linked to the underworld were arrested in Cape Town on Friday. (Caryn Dolley, News24)

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Cape Town - Calls between police officers and underworld figures are set to surface in a nightclub security extortion case, which saw seven key underworld figures arrested in Cape Town on Friday.

Among the seven is a controversial businessman, as well as the brother of a suspected gang boss.

The suspects face extortion charges.

They remain in custody and are expected to appear in the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court on Monday.

The seven arrests form part of a much broader investigation into underworld activities, including a murder plot.

READ: Murder plot, extortion, disappearing witnesses – underworld probe details revealed

Hussain Ait Taleb, better known in bouncer circles as Hussain Moroccan, was arrested in October on a conspiracy to commit murder charge.

It has been alleged that he hired two individuals to murder a club owner who refused to pay him protection money.

Taleb is in custody and expected to apply for bail in the Cape Town Magistrate's Court in December.

Corruption claim

On Friday afternoon, the seven arrested men were led out the Cape Town cluster police headquarters into an awaiting police van.

They were led out in single file and escorted by police officers.

Seven suspects linked to the underworld were arrested in Cape Town on Friday. (Pictures: Caryn Dolley, News24)

Major General Jeremy Vearey, the head of the Cape Town police cluster, was present.

The suspect who was led out first said to this News24 reporter: "Put this down. General Vearey is corrupt and I’ll sort it out."

A police officer then told him to keep moving and get into the van.

Other suspects tried to conceal their faces with fast food packaging.

The police van left with its siren blaring.

Vearey brushed off the suspect's remark about corruption.

Recorded phone calls 

A source with close knowledge of the investigation on Friday said a senior figure who was arrested on Friday had provided officers with recordings of calls with certain police officers.

News24 was previously aware of the existence of certain recordings.

The recordings form part of the broader underworld investigation.

It is understood that the matter involving the seven arrests relates to a letter that was recently circulated among club owners in Cape Town.

'Doubled' security fees 

The letter says that the days that venues would be open needed to be established so that staff could be allocated.

"Please note that the service that was rendered for the year 2017, we would like to request that we charging you double for the Services Rendered," it ends.

At least two of the seven detained on Friday have previously been arrested in connection with other matters.

Underworld violence started surging in Cape Town late last year when a new grouping of men, headed by businessman and rumoured informant Nafiz Modack, started taking control of nightclub security from a more established grouping.

For a detailed breakdown on what has been happening in the underworld, see News24's showcase Underworld Unmasked

The takeover sparked violence and several shootings.

It also resulted in several recent arrests.

In the Cape Town Regional Court last month, during the bail application of one of those arrested, security company director Grant Veroni, several details about the investigation into underworld activities surfaced.

Veroni, director of Bellville-based company Skhosana Maponyane Hall Phillips and Khumalo, trading as The Security Group (TSG), faces two charges relating to the alleged possession of an unlicensed firearm and ammunition.

He was denied bail, as he also faces a fraud charge in a separate case, set to be heard in Bellville, in which it is alleged that he and a co-accused recruited security guards and applied for firearm licences for them, but never actually employed them.

Sergeant Edward Edwardes, who is involved in police investigations of the underworld, had testified during Veroni’s application that TSG was linked to, among others, Colin Booysen, the brother of suspected Sexy Boys gang boss Jerome "Donkie" Booysen, and Modack.

He had said several events playing out in the Western Cape, involving firearms, nightclub security and drugs, were all interlinked.

Forced payments and fear

Edwardes had testified that some security industry players were forcing club owners to pay them, and pushing their security services on establishments.

He said the owners were afraid to lodge complaints.

Edwardes had also testified that many of TSG’s security guards were not registered with the Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority (Psira), but that Psira inspectors feared for their lives if speaking out about this.

"Even Psira inspectors fear for their lives if they take on certain security companies," he said.

Edwardes had also testified that, in some underworld cases, witnesses had disappeared.

Read more on:    cape town  |  underworld  |  crime

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