Durban – The Hawks believe they may have cracked an international syndicate after rescuing KwaZulu-Natal businesswoman Sandra Moonsamy.
The criminals have been involved in a string of kidnappings that netted them hundreds of millions of rand.
Investigators believe the gang, caught in a surprise raid on Thursday night, were involved in the kidnappings of Pretoria businessman Omar Carrim and Joburg businessman Shiraz Ghatoo.
This, according to a source, after the suspects allegedly involved in Moonsamy’s kidnapping were linked to other kidnappings through evidence.
Moonsamy was rescued by the police in eMalahleni after 162 days in captivity and the breakthrough in the case, said a source, came weeks ago when arrests were made on an unrelated crime.
Hawks spokesperson Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi said its investigators raced from KwaZulu-Natal on Thursday after “something came up”.
Supported by other SAPS units and metro police, the Hawks raided properties in Honeydew, Mamelodi, and eMalahleni and arrested four men.
“The police took the kidnappers by surprise.
“This followed weeks of intense investigations by the Hawks,” said the source.
Moonsamy was found chained in a room in a luxury house, which was apparently being rented by the gang. Firearms and luxury vehicles were seized.
The 46-year-old mother of two is now believed to be in hospital.
Minister of Police Bheki Cele said, “she is not in a very good condition, but we believe she will be okay”.
“More people are still wanted.”
Hangwani said one of the syndicate’s kingpins was arrested in the raids.
“We are dealing with a syndicate, we need to check them thoroughly.
“They are not South African and we might have to work with other law enforcement agencies from around the world,” said Mulaudzi.
The source said another kingpin was being sought and there is the possibility he might be out of the country.
Over the past two years, a number of wealthy business people have been kidnapped and the modus operandi in most of these cases were similar.
The kidnappers demanded between $1million (more than R14m) and $3m, and forced the victims’ families to pay the ransom in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, at cash exchanges.
Their victims are often kept in captivity for months.
Moonsamy, the daughter of a Durban logistics tycoon, went missing on May 31 after she was forced off a road in Pinetown, west of Durban.
It is believed the kidnappers demanded a ransom of R140million.
A member of the Carrim family welcomed the arrests yesterday.
“We don’t know much but we are happy arrests have been made.
“Let’s give the cops the space to deal with it,” said the family member who didn’t want to be named.
“I have recordings and the voice in the one call matches the voice in some of the cases where ransom demands are made.”
Anti-crime activist Yusuf Abramjee, who has been highlighting these cases, said the arrests on Thursday evening were significant.
“The kidnappers have been getting away with it for years and I suspect the backbone has now been broken,” Abramjee said.
The Hawks may have made a major breakthrough breaking up a large-scale kidnapping syndicate, but there is concern for another Cape Town businessman, Noor Mohammed Karriem, who was kidnapped recently.
Watch: Teddy Mafia’s son-in-law targeted in Shallcross drive-by shooting
Kesavan Isaac Naidoo, the son-in-law of slain alleged Durban drug boss “Teddy Mafia” has survived a brazen attempted assassination on Wednesday, his family confirmed.
The incident took place at about 10am in Shallcross, south of Durban.
Naidoo, 41, is the son-in-law of Yaganathan Pillay – also known as Teddy Mafia.
He was shot twice in a daylight hit on Table Mountain Drive. The incident was captured on CCTV.
“Isaac was shot in both legs and his driver was shot in the hand. Both of them survived. They’re in hospital,” he said.
Pillay said Naidoo was in the back seat while his wife was in the front. The shooting, seen in the footage, takes place moments after they open the doors of their vehicle to get out.
In the footage, a white vehicle can be seen driving along Table Mountain Drive before it is stopped, partially blocking the left hand side of the road. Thirteen seconds later, Naidoo’s vehicle, a white Toyota Fortuna, pulls up.
The back passenger door of the Fortuner is opened, but it is not clear from the footage who the person was who opened it or if they got out of the vehicle.
Naidoo’s wife is seen getting out of the front passenger side of the vehicle and walks towards the rear of the SUV.
Suddenly, four men alight from the stationary vehicle, three of them drawing firearms and running towards the Fortuner, firing multiple shots. The fourth man stands next to the white car.
As the bullets are fired, Naidoo’s driver accelerates and drives past the other vehicle. Naidoo is presumably in the vehicle as it speeds away, but this could not immediately be confirmed.
Pillay said Naidoo was doing “OK”.
Police have been approached for comment, and this story will be updated.
— Yusuf Abramjee (@Abramjee) October 13, 2021
Facebook Down, Instagram and WhatsApp also offline
Facebook is currently experiencing an outage impacting its family of sites including WhatsApp and Instagram.
Most Facebook users are seeing an error message that says ‘This site can’t be reached.’ On Instagram, the error message shows as a 5xx Server Error message.
The outage is impacting users on both desktop and mobile.
“We’re aware that some people are having trouble accessing our apps and products,” Andy Stone, policy communications manager at Facebook, tweeted on Monday. “We’re working to get things back to normal as quickly as possible, and we apologize for any inconvenience.”
We’re aware that some people are having trouble accessing our apps and products. We’re working to get things back to normal as quickly as possible, and we apologize for any inconvenience.
— Facebook (@Facebook) October 4, 2021
Facebook Messenger and Oculus are also experiencing outages.
The first reports on DownDetector.com started around 5pm.
According to The Verge, the issue is likely related to a DNS issue. When Slack experienced an outage last week, it was also related to DNS issues.
Husband killed, wife critical as robbers open fire during Joburg home invasion
A home invasion on Sunday night left a man dead and his wife fighting for her life after they were shot by robbers in Randpark, Johannesburg.
Emer-G-Med private emergency services paramedics found the man had sustained fatal gunshot wounds and he was declared dead.
His wife was also shot several times and was stabilised before being taken by ambulance to a nearby hospital for treatment.
Reports from the scene indicated there were several armed assailants.
Police are investigating the incident.- TimesLIVE
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