Guan Jiang Guang, the Chinese man famous for claiming in an Al Jazeera documentary that State Security Minister David Mahlobo had visited his “massage parlour” and was considered “a useful contact” in the illegal rhino trade, has disappeared without a trace.
The Hawks have also told The Citizen that the “massage parlour” in Mbombela (Nelspruit), which was called a spa by Mahlobo, appears to also be a brothel.
“The spa is suspected to have been used as a brothel,” Hawks spokesperson Brigadier Hangweni Mulaudzi confirmed.
“The Hawks have at no stage opened an investigation into the alleged rhino poaching but have opened an inquiry into the activities of the brothel, which appeared in an Al Jazeera documentary,” said Mulaudzi.
Francois Beukman, chair of the parliamentary portfolio committee on police, said the police would be quizzed on the matter when it appeared before the committee next week.
“The DPCI is coming to the portfolio committee on Wednesday, 1 March, to brief us on the establishment of specialised units, but they are also supposed to brief us on high-profile cases, so we will request them to give us a detailed briefing on this matter to ensure the matter was handled in terms of the relevant procedure,” said Beukman.
Guang is believed to have links to the illegal trade in rhino horn and is allegedly a level-three-tier rhino-horn trafficker.
“His whereabouts are unknown at this stage; we suspect he skipped the country using forged documents,” said Mulaudzi, adding that Guang’s passport had now been flagged.
“It is not known if he went back to China or he is in the neighbouring countries or still in SA.”
Mulaudzi said that after the Al Jazeera documentary in November Guang fled the country.
Al Jazeera secretly filmed Guang displaying cellphone pictures of himself with Mahlobo, and alleged the minister’s wife was involved in the illegal trade of rhino horn. He said in the video that he considered Mahlobo – who is from Mpumalanga and had allegedly visited his massage parlour sometimes weekly – a useful contact.
Maluadzi said: “Guang appeared in the documentary alleging that he knows Minister Mahlobo and claiming to be his ‘associate’. The minister was never associated with any illegal rhino-poaching activities. I must hasten to say we got hold of the documentary and engaged Al Jazeera requesting them not to flight it since it will interfere with our project on Guang. We never received any feedback from them.”
Mahlobo’s spokesperson, Brian Dube, made it clear in the statement he released that Mahlobo has no association with Guang.
“It is the minister who subsequently lodged a complaint with the police and it is this complaint that the Hawks are looking into,” said Dube.
Mulaudzi said there was an inquiry on the “brothel in terms of the alleged ‘friendship’ that was annulled since there are no elements of crime. The misconception that the Hawks are investigating Minister Mahlobo is not true.”
Mahlobo’s statement claimed at the time that Guang’s claim of friendship was based on his visits to “… the local Mbombela Spa owned by self-confessed criminal Guan Jiang Guang. At the time Minister Mahlobo visited the Spa he had no idea as to what Mr Guang was involved in.
“The Minister refutes these ludicrous allegations with all the contempt that they deserve and reserves his rights in respect of those making such false claims.”