A stern warning has been issued to con artists who try to extort money from unsuspecting citizens.
This comes after a group of people have been discovered operating in Lansdowne, extorting money from men who pick up sex workers in the area.
Hanif Loonat, chairperson of the Mitchell’s Plain cluster community police forum, says it has been brought to the forum’s attention that con artists have been taking advantage of an already sordid matter.
“We have a problem with prostitution across the city, but recently we were notified of people extorting money from clients of prostitutes.
“We are taking this matter very seriously,” Loonat says.
A complaint was received recently from a man from the Lansdowne area.
“The sex worker was picked up in Lansdowne Road and moments after the client picked her up a woman appeared at the car and claimed that the sex worker was her daughter. The woman then demanded that the client pay her money to not report the issue to the police,” Loonat explains.
The scamster then found out where the man worked and made a nuisance of herself at his workplace.
“Unfortunately, some men pick these sex workers up in company vehicles. She went to his workplace so she could get more money from him. She demanded money from him on two occasions, which amounted to just under R500,” he says.
The woman allegedly later wanted R2500. This is when the man called him for advice.
“The man obviously paid the woman so she could keep quiet, because they don’t want their families finding out and they don’t want to lose their jobs. It is an unfortunate situation but he came to me and we reported the matter to the police,” he says.
Loonat says more and more people are falling prey to blackmailers.
He urges victims to come forward with information, adding that vulnerable people are caught in this trap.
“We believe some of the sex workers are working hand in hand with these extortionists and we urge people to rather report these cases instead of paying the money.
“We need to rid our communities of these unsavoury acts.”