MXit teams up with police to improve security

Popular instant-message provider MXit will be forging stronger links with the police to rid its system of potential sex predators.

The chatroom service was recently used by an alleged paedophile to kidnap an underage girl.

Herman Heunis, the founder and chief executive of MXit, told The Star on Wednesday that they were looking at ways of beefing up the security of their service by giving police detectives more access to their chatrooms.

"We will do whatever it takes to get these guys off the streets. We are prepared to work very closely with the police, and one of my senior managers will get in contact with the police to see what can be done," he said.

This comes in the wake of police nabbing a 33-year-old man for allegedly abducting and sexually assaulting a 16-year-old Ekurhuleni girl he had met on the MXit chatroom.

According to police, the West Rand man lured the girl by using the MXit service, where he was able to get the girl to give him her home address.

On Tuesday last week, the girl was walking with her sister at the Welgedacht plots in Springs when the man allegedly dragged her into his bakkie.

Her sister tried to tackle the man, but he hit her and was able to speed off. He then drove to a house in Randfontein on the West Rand, where he held her captive for five days.

On Sunday, the girl escaped and fled to a house in nearby Carletonville, where she contacted the police.

It is not known whether the girl knew the man's age while chatting to him on the service. Police suspect that he may have sexually assaulted her.

The girl told detectives that she had met the man on MXit. Using this information, the police went through her cellphone records, and a sting operation was put into place using MXit.

A detective went on to the service and contacted the man, pretending to be a teenage girl. A trap was set and he fell for it.

He was arrested on Monday. He has already appeared in the Springs magistrate's court and will make a second appearance on October 24.

Heunis said he was angry that an alleged paedophile had used his system. He said there was nothing more they could do to further secure the chatroom service.

"We have racked our brains trying to come up with a way of protecting people. We have a link on our website that parents can access that will educate them about the proper usage of the service.

"We must stress that people should never give personal information to strangers and they must remain anonymous at all times when they are in the chatrooms," he said.


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