Tourist stabbed on Lion’s Head

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A tourist was stabbed on Lions Head and another person injured near Sandy Bay in separate muggings an hour apart. FILE PHOTO: CANDICE CHAPLIN

Cape Town - An Australian tourist was stabbed on Lion’s Head and another person injured in the Sandy Bay vicinity in separate muggings an hour apart, prompting authorities to warn those visiting mountain areas to do so in groups.

Community Safety MEC Dan Plato, worried about the two weekend incidents, said he would on Tuesday reassess the security plans focusing on the mountain chain.

Those visiting the mountain, especially secluded areas, should do so in groups of four or more, said regional SANParks spokeswoman Merle Collins.

“Don’t bring your valuables. What you do bring, don’t display it openly,” she said.

The two attacks, on Sandy Bay and Lion’s Head, both happened late on Sunday.

On Monday, police spokesman Frederick van Wyk said Australian tourists Aaron Joseph Ryan and his wife had been on the Camps Bay side of Lion’s Head at about 6.58pm when three men mugged them.

“During the incident, Mr Ryan tried to fight his attackers and got stabbed in the left shoulder,” Van Wyk said.

He said Ryan was robbed of his wallet, camera, cellphone and an undisclosed amount of money.

The muggers then ran towards Camps Bay.

Van Wyk said Ryan had not been able to give an official statement to police as he had needed urgent medical treatment.

No arrests were made.

On Monday, Natalie Mendelsohn of the Australian High Commission said it was aware of the incident and was working with the city’s disaster management to assist the couple. Asked how the attack was viewed, Mendelsohn sent an Australian government website link about travel advice.

It said: “We advise you to exercise a high degree of caution in South Africa because of the high level of serious crime.”

The second mugging on Sunday happened in the Sandy Bay area.

Van Wyk could not confirm it, but the Hout Bay Neighbourhood Watch’s Twitter account said the mugging, in which a knife was used, happened around 8pm.

On Monday, the Hout Bay Neighbourhood Watch’s chairman, Anthony Chemaly, said he had seen an incident report and confirmed a mugging had occurred and that someone was injured.

He did not have further details.

The neighbourhood watch’s Twitter account said the mugging victim had been hit in the face.

Chemaly said muggings occurring in the Sandy Bay area “are of concern” and the matter had been raised with SANParks.

General mountain safety has been an ongoing problem, with a number of hikers, bikers and tourists being targeted, and many safety measures have been implemented over the years.

Earlier this year, the mountain crime situation made international headlines when a Norwegian exchange student was attacked on Signal Hill and later raped.

On Monday, Plato said he would on Tuesday contact the Table Mountain Safety Forum, set up nearly three years ago by his predecessor, Albert Fritz, following a spate of attacks, to see what more could be done to boost security.

The safety forum consisted of the community safety department, law enforcement agencies, SANParks and a number of civil society formations and volunteers.

Plato said he would look into whether more law enforcement officers could be stationed at areas including Lion’s Head, Signal Hill and Sandy Bay.

He said when tourists in particular were targeted, it sent out the wrong message.

“These people may decide not to come back to South Africa. My advice to tourists: if they visit the mountain, they must do it in a group,” he said.

In other incidents, cyclist Benjamin Bungartz, originally from the US and now living in Hout Bay, was robbed at the end of September on the Karbonkelberg of his bicycle at gun- and-knife-point by three men.

After this incident, which followed a number of others in the same area, the Hout Bay Neighbourhood Watch had warned people to stay away from the Sandy Bay dunes.

In April, the Norwegian exchange student, 19, and her boyfriend were attacked on Signal Hill and she was later raped.

As a result, authorities had decided to apply to control access to Signal Hill Road and Tafelberg Road between 10pm and 5pm.

About two weeks ago, the city council said it supported controlling access “to monitor vehicle movement following a number of recent muggings, robberies and hijackings on both these roads”.

caryn.dolley@inl.co.za

Cape Times


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