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Johannesburg - A high-speed chase and a gun battle between the police and an alleged truck-hijacking gang turned deadly when two of the suspects were shot dead.
The other three - who included an SAPS officer in uniform - were arrested.
For two weeks, police had been monitoring a gang in a cloned police car. After tailing the car on Tuesday night, police flagged it down but the driver sped off, said Hawks spokesman Captain Paul Ramaloko.
A police chase ensued, culminating in a shoot-out in Glen Austin, Midrand, at 9pm on Tuesday night.
“When they realised that we were behind them and that they were in trouble, they thought that the only way out was to shoot. They started firing at us. We retaliated and in the process two of them were killed,” he said.
Three suspects were injured and apprehended.
There were five suspects in the vehicle - four were in police uniform and one wore a bullet-proof vest.
The genuine police officer had his appointment card in his pocket.
He is a sergeant stationed at the Olifantsfontein police station in Midrand and was wearing his police uniform.
Inside the cloned police car with police markings and blue lights, police found jamming devices, leading them to believe that the men had been involved in truck hijackings too.
“The way these devices work is that if these people come into your home to rob you, they will use some of these devices to shut the (cellphone) network so that when you call the police your calls don’t go through.
“When they target trucks that deliver goods, they know exactly where the tracking device is. They will hijack the truck and put a jamming device on the tracking gadget.
“When the owners of the truck monitors its movement, what they will see is the truck is stationary. However, the robbers would have driven it to some place and started offloading the goods,” Ramaloko explained.
It is believed that the officer who was arrested with the bogus police must have been the one who provided them with police uniforms.
Ramaloko said four unlicensed firearms were found in the vehicle and one of the men was wanted by police.
However, he did not say what the man was wanted for, except to say he was being profiled.