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Cape Town - A Pelican Park man is in hiding after he was almost beaten to death by a suburban vigilante mob who accused him of breaking into a woman’s house.
Sundaraj Puckree, 37, who suffers from bipolar disorder, was allegedly dragged out of the Sea Palace restaurant (near the V&A Waterfront) last Monday and beaten by a dozen men on the pavement outside.
“These guys just pulled up in a Colt bakkie, dragged him outside and nearly beat him to death right there,” the man’s sister Karin Puckree, 20, told the Cape Argus. “They said that they were from Pagad and accused him of breaking in, stealing from and even of raping a woman.”
People Against Gangsterism and Drugs (Pagad) spokesman Haroon Orrie said he had heard of the incident, but denied that Pagad had been involved. “This is not Pagad’s modus operandi, and we distance ourselves from this brutal incident,” he said.
Puckree was allegedly tied up, thrown into the back of the bakkie, and burnt with cigarettes as the mob escorted him back to Pelican Park. At the Pelican Park address of the woman who had initially accused Puckree of housebreaking, he was tied to a chair, tortured, burnt with a clothing iron and beaten with a cricket bat until he lost consciousness.
Police officers found Puckree unconscious and lying in a pool of his blood a short while later.
An ambulance was called and he was taken to Vincent Pallotti Hospital.
Police spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel André Traut confirmed that a case of attempted murder had been opened.
Investigators went to the hospital, but Puckree had already been discharged and gone into hiding.
“We had to take him to a place of safety,” his sister said.
“His phone was with us, and there were calls coming through with people saying that they know where my brother was and that they would ‘finish him off’ next time.”
At the time of going to print, Puckree was incapable of speaking because of the injuries to his face. He communicated his experience to the Cape Argus with the help of his sister.
She expressed frustration at the police’s inability to arrest the perpetrators, even though they were apparently still present at the residence when police officers arrived to find Puckree unconscious.
Traut also confirmed the housebreaking docket, in which the female complainant, aged 61, alleged that a camera, jewellery and R125 000 in cash had been taken.
The woman’s identity is known by the Cape Argus, but attempts at tracking her down were unsuccessful.