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By Enkosi Selane

Digital Journalist

‘I lost a huge part of myself ’: 27-year-old assaulted in ‘Grindr hookup gone wrong’

A Gauteng resident explains how he was catfished by criminals.

An alleged hookup ended in a nightmare ordeal for a 27-year-old Gauteng resident who was beaten and robbed by a person he claimed was pretending to be someone else online.

The man, who only wanted to be known as Maurice, told The Citizen that he had been chatting to a man called James on the dating app Grindr, when he offered to call him an Bolt (e-hailing service) in the early hours of Saturday morning so they could “hang out”.

“I created a bond with this profile. He invited me to his place and as I argued about the distance, time and finances James seemed to still be keen and insisted that we hang out.”

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But it all went horribly wrong when Maurice arrived at the destination in Kempton Park, east of Johannesburg.

The person he spoke to seemed different to the one he was chatting to online.

“I couldn’t really see his face because he had a hoodie on with a hat and a big denim jacket. I got out [of the Bolt vehicle] and went inside with him into a scary, dark building,” recounted Maurice.

When inside the dimly lit building, Maurice was introduced to James’ “brother” who allegedly demanded his phone.

It was then that he realised he had been catfished by criminals.

From a rom-com to horror

Maurice said he was assaulted by the two, who demanded he unlock his phone.

He said he eventually found an escape route and ran until he bumped into the building’s security guards who helped him get home.

When Maurice went to a nearby police station to open a case, he was allegedly turned away and told police “do not deal with phone cases”.

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Attempts by The Citizen to get a comment from police were unsuccessful at the time of publishing. Any update will be included once received.

Maurice told The Citizen that he was devastated by the whole ordeal.

“I lost a huge part of me as a person, my self-respect. I can safely say I am bitter and angry at myself because I feel like I could have prevented all of this. I don’t see myself ever being interested in an online relationship,” said the 27-year-old.

Call for change in leadership

Maurice’s case is one of many where people have been lured under the pretence of romance.

WATCH: Another one of the victims of an online meetup shares their story:

Activist and director of Community Safety at Action Society, Ian Cameron, said there is a lack of political will and leadership to address the scourge.

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Cameron called for new Gauteng Police Commissioner General Tommy Mthombeni to see this as an opportunity to “get the job done”.

He acknowledged that such crimes are a national issue that needs to be dealt with by the police who “did nothing but tell the victims to bring evidence” when cases were reported.

“There is a need for specialised resources. The police need to do what they can to see that these cases are attended to and that the perpetrators are found and prosecuted,” Cameron added.