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Cape Town - A gay rights group has raised concerns that a gang allegedly targeting homosexual men in Joburg may have started operating in Cape Town.
The recent death of Plumstead resident Graham Collop rang alarm bells for Dawie Nel, director of the rights group OUT.
Nel said a similar modus operandi had been used in Collop’s death as in eight murdered men in Joburg. However, local police said his case was not linked to the Joburg cases.
Collop, 50, was discovered at his home on Sunday night, bound and apparently strangled.
In the Gauteng cases, police reported that a gang had been targeting well-off gay men who were tied up and strangled, their homes ransacked.
It was reported that the gang had also been operating outside Gauteng.
Nel said Collop’s case was the first he had heard about in Cape Town, but he suspected there were also cases in other provinces.
“They usually target older men who meet or have met their partners online, which is why there is often no forced entry,” he said.
“Very little is stolen and the majority of the victims have been strangled,” he added.
Nel said OUT had been formed to help the victims’ families source information that may help in the investigations.
He said police had not acted until the DA posed questions about the murders. Shortly thereafter, three men were arrested in connection with one of the Joburg cases.
Provincial police spokesman Captain FC Van Wyk said there was no link between Collop’s case and any other murders.
He said suspects had been identified but had not yet been arrested.
“The cause of death must still be determined,” he said.
Van Wyk said the investigation was at a sensitive stage, and that no more information could be divulged at this stage.
The three men arrested in the Joburg case – Maxwell Nyathi, Mthokozisi Ndlovu and Bheki Maseko – appeared in the Joburg Magistrate’s court last month, accused of murdering Orange Grove resident Barney van Heerden.
Their case was postponed until the end of this month for further investigation.