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'Missing' alleged child sex ring kingpin Gerhard Ackerman re-arrested at shopping centre

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Gerhard Ackerman, who is facing hundreds of charges relating to a child sex ring, seen before his court appearance.
Gerhard Ackerman, who is facing hundreds of charges relating to a child sex ring, seen before his court appearance.
PHOTO: Alex Mitchley/News24
  • Gerhard Ackerman, the man accused of running a child sex ring, has been re-arrested.
  • This after he missed his trial on Thursday, citing ill health, but then went missing on Friday.
  • Police arrested Ackerman in Florida, Roodepoort.

Alleged child sex ring kingpin Gerhard Ackerman has been re-arrested after he contravened his bail conditions and went missing on Friday.

Less than 64 hours after Ackerman allegedly sold his moveable assets and vacated the premises he was living in, he was arrested at the Florida Junction shopping centre on Sunday morning. 

News24 can confirm residents spotted and recognised him and immediately called the police.

He is currently being detained at the Florida police station and will appear in the Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg on Monday. 

The Gauteng Director of Public Prosecutions, advocates Andrew Chauke, thanked members of the public for their vigilance.

National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Phindi Mjonondwane said: "The role played by the South African media in his apprehension must be applauded as the images circulated by the media led to members of the public spotting Ackerman in Florida in the west of Johannesburg."

On Thursday, Ackerman was meant to appear in court for the continuation of his trial.

The court was set to hear evidence relating to WhatsApp messages and voice notes Ackerman allegedly sent to clients, including senior advocate and acting judge Paul Kennedy, who has since taken his own life.

These messages allegedly included descriptions of the child victims and sexual services rendered, as per the indictment.

READ | Arrest warrant issued for alleged child sex ring kingpin, who sold belongings and vacated home

However, Ackerman was not present when proceedings started, and his legal aid attorney, Herman Alberts, told the court his client had allegedly fallen ill.

Alberts said he received a message from Ackerman that he had food poisoning and had not slept as a result.

The case was subsequently postponed to Monday, but Ackerman was meant to submit a medical certificate on Friday.

Mjonondwane said after Ackerman failed to comply with the court order, the investigating team comprising Captain Banks and Warrant Officer Pelser acted swiftly and visited his place of residence after realising the accused was unreachable.

"On arrival, they found that the accused had moved out and sold all his movable assets."
(Supplied)
Gerhard Ackerman (Supplied)
News24

The police spent the entirety of Friday trying to track Ackerman down but to no avail.

On Saturday morning, the State headed to court for a warrant of arrest which was authorised.

Crime

Ackerman, who is also known as "Gerrie", is accused of running the child sex ring in Johannesburg between 2019 and 2021.

According to the indictment, he would allegedly search for teenage boys on Facebook and other social media sites.

Ackerman would allegedly solicit pornographic videos and images from the child victims and sell them to clients.

READ |  740 charges, fear of testifying in court: Week one of alleged child sex ring kingpin on trial

He has also been accused of sexually grooming the victims, trafficking them and teaching them how to perform sexual services, before selling the said services to a list of "clients".

Several of the charges state Ackerman allegedly received money for the services rendered by the teenagers.

On Monday, Ackerman pleaded not guilty to 740 charges.

Some of the charges state the crimes were allegedly committed at Kennedy's home, while others were allegedly committed at a place rented by Ackerman, which fronted as a massage parlour, where the teenagers were allegedly sexually exploited.

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