Friends kidnapped by suspects posing as police

Henry

Four friends who were kidnapped by suspects posing as police officers have been safely recovered and reunited with their families.

The four were traveling between Standerton and Trichardt in Mpumalanga on Monday evening when they were pulled off the road by a group of men in a white Volkswagen Polo with blue lights.

According to Brig. Athlenda Mathe, police spokesperson, the four young men were kidnapped and detained while large sums of money were withdrawn from their bank accounts.

The police’s anti-kidnapping unit located the victims within 48 hours at a house in Vosloorus in Gauteng.

In the meantime, the search is still on for the suspects. According to Mathe, in the past week there have been similar incidents in Nelspruit and Hazyview where motorists were stopped by suspects in either a Volkswagen Polo or a Ford Ranger bakkie with blue lights. The victims were then detained while large sums of money were withdrawn from their bank accounts.

In the past two years, more than 300 suspects have been arrested in connection with kidnappings where ransom demands were made or victims were forced to withdraw large sums of money from their accounts, Mathe said.

“Members of the public are requested to be extra vigilant if an incident arises where they suspect that they are being stopped by criminals posing as police officers.

“Do not stop if you suspect that you may be stopped by criminals posing as police officers. Drive to the nearest police station, shopping complex or any other busy area when you are stopped by an unmarked vehicle with blue lights.”

Mathe emphasized that one has the right to request a police officer who is not in uniform or driving an unmarked vehicle to identify themselves by showing their appointment card which will have their rank, date of service and photo on it.