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By Enkosi Selane

Digital Journalist

Stranger danger: Mercy ride ends up in death for German tourist in SA

This tragic incident of the death of 74-year-old German tourist serves as a reminder to exercise caution when interacting with strangers and to prioritise personal safety while traveling.

Three foreign national suspects were expected to appear before the Northam Magistrate’s Court on Monday, for the murder and assault of a 74-year-old German tourist in Limpopo.

On Saturday, the suspects robbed and physically assaulted the 74-year-old, leaving him for dead in a remote farm.

Killed by kindness

When the German national arrived in South Africa on Saturday, departing from Botswana, in his kindness he offered a hitchhiker a lift thereby asking him to help him find accommodation.

The German national and the hitchhiker allegedly established a friendship during the journey, and the victim even allowed the suspect to drive them around.

Upon arriving at a supposed accommodation in Moruleng, the suspect suggested they visit a liquor store where they met with two of the suspect’s accomplices.

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“That’s when the suspect informed his two friends that the tourist is expecting a substantial amount of money from his family abroad,” the police statement read.

Furthermore, the victim went back to his accomodation with the suspects oblivious to the fact that this decision would lead to his demise.

When they got to the victims place, they showed their true colors and tied him up, beat him and robbed him.

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“They also searched him and took an undisclosed amount of cash and other valuables.

“The suspects removed the vehicle’s number plates and continued to drive with the victim while assaulting him to Northam in Limpopo Province using a secluded gravel road.”

According to the police once they reached a certain farm, two of the suspects dragged the victim from the vehicle and dumped him in the bushes, while the driver remained in the vehicle.

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The incident came to the attention of security officials and a member of Rural Safety who noticed a suspicious vehicle parked without number plates at night.

Upon investigation, they discovered a blood-stained t-shirt worn by one of the suspects and immediately notified the police.

The police arrived at the scene, conducted initial investigations, and found the victim’s body in the bushes. Two of the suspects had already fled the scene.

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An intelligence-driven operation was launched, leading to the arrest of the two suspects in the Northwest province later that evening.

“They were found in possession of some of the deceased’s belongings,” according to the police.

The third suspect was also subsequently arrested.

The identity of the victims and suspects has not been revealed by the police.

Stranger, danger

Provincial Commissioner Lieutenant General Hadebe expressed her appreciation for the police’s efforts in swiftly apprehending the suspects.

She emphasised the importance of securing a strong case that would result in a lengthy conviction for the perpetrators.

This tragic incident serves as a reminder to exercise caution when interacting with strangers and to prioritise personal safety while traveling.

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“The victim had trusted this ruthless criminal, but he turned against him and, together with his friends, tortured and brutally killed him.

“We will work hard to secure a water tight case that will result in a lengthy conviction for these perpetrators”, said Hadebe.

Similar case

Tragic as it is, this man’s case is not the first occurence of its kind. In 2022, another German tourist, Jörg Schnarr was killed en-route to the Kruger National Park.

Schnarr was fatally shot during a hijacking that went wrong near the Numbi Gate at the park.

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