Belfast – Eight arrested on mine

Drivers tried to run over police during the arrest and a police vehicle was damaged during the process. Suspects now face added attempted murder charges.

Eight suspects were arrested Thursday in a joint operation by the Hawks, Middelburg K-9 unit and Bidvest Protea Coin Security.

Captain Dineo Sekgotodi, Hawks spokesperson, said that the suspects, aged between 25 and 57 were arrested in connection with coal theft and attempted murder.

According to Capt. Sekgotodi, the men were arrested at Wonderfontein Mine near Belfast after information was received about illegal activity at the mine.

Alleged bribe money, estimated between R35 000 and R50 000 were paid to security officers on night duty in order to gain access to the mine via a back entrance to load coal on the mine.

Some of the suspects allegedly tried to run over police officers on the scene, resulting in the damaging of a state vehicle and leading to the added attempted murder charges.

Coal and 12 trucks were recovered with a combined estimated value of over R30 million, according to Capt. Sekgotodi.

Police managed to arrest eight of 16 suspects with seven still on the loose. Of the suspects still on the run, three are said to be security guards who fled with their employer’s firearms.

The suspects captured are expected to appear in the Belfast court today (Friday)



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