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By Faizel Patel

Senior Digital Journalist

Kidnapping syndicate targeting LGBTQ community in Gauteng nabbed

The suspects used a dating app to lure their victims to secluded places.

Gauteng police have arrested four members of a kidapping syndicate who targeted members of the public based on their sexual orientation.

The suspects were handcuffed by several authorities including the JMPD K-9 unit, Gauteng Traffic, Tracker Connect and members of the private security industry at a restaurant in Parktown on Wednesday night.

App to lure victims

Police spokesperson Athlenda Mathe said the men who have been  targeting the Lesbian Gay Bisexual  Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) community would use a dating app designed for this community to lure their victims to secluded places before kidnapping and robbing them.

“On 12th February 2023, a 26-year-old man who had been chatting to one of the suspects was lured to an area where he was hijacked, kidnapped and robbed of his personal belongings including bank cards. The suspects proceeded to make several purchases with the victim’s bank cards.”

“As soon as the matter was reported to the Mondeor police station, the Anti-Kidnapping Task Team operationalised information and swooped in on the four men who were meeting at the restaurant on the same day of the abduction,” Mathe said.

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Mathe added that the suspects were found with the victim’s belongings including bank cards, wallet, bag and cellphone.

“33-year-old Thabo Ndlovu, 27-year-old Ndumiso Mahlangu, 27-year-old Sibusiso Tshabalala and 25-year-old Elson Nyati were arrested and have already appeared before the Booysens magistrate’s court. Each of them is facing a charge of hijacking, kidnapping and extortion.”

“The victim’s hijacked vehicle, a Mercedes C180 has not been recovered and the search continues for the vehicle. The victim was rescued and has since been reunited with his family,” Mathe said.  

Zimbabwean kidnapping mastermind arrested

Last month, police arrested five people, including a Zimbabwean kingpin, for their involvement in the kidnapping of a Midrand businessman.

A multidisciplinary team led by the National Anti-Kidnapping Task handcuffed the group including the Zimbabwean man, his wife and girlfriend.

The Midrand businessman was kidnapped on 18 January 2023.

ALSO READ: Zimbabwean mastermind among five nabbed for kidnapping of businessman