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Fifteenth mugging on Hout Bay trail

The Hout Bay habour. Photo: Matthew Jordaan.

The Hout Bay habour. Photo: Matthew Jordaan.

Published Jun 17, 2013

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An elderly Hout Bay couple were left badly bruised and traumatised after they were held up at knifepoint and robbed of their belongings at East Fort, near the start of the Blackburn Ravine hiking trail near Hout Bay.

This attack brought the number of muggings on mountain hiking pathways in the city to 15 this year, the Table Mountain Watch has said.

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Police spokesman FC van Wyk said the 71-year-old man and his wife were hiking on the mountain trail about 3.30pm on Saturday when a man approached and threatened them with a knife.

He refused to identify the couple.

“The couple passed the suspect, who was smoking, on the side trail. When they returned, the same person jumped up and threatened them with a knife. The victim then wrestled with the suspect and they both fell into the bush, where the man sustained cuts on his back,” Van Wyk said.

He said the suspect managed to get away with the couple’s rings, watches and iPhone.

“The rings were diamond rings and are of great value to the couple. A robbery case has been opened at the Hout Bay police station and will be investigated,” he said.

Table Mountain Watch spokesman Andre van Schalkwyk said while Saturday’s incident was the first in the East Fort area, the number of muggings this year was a concern.

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“It was very unusual because it was the first attack in an area known to be fairly safe and quiet. But the amount of mountain muggings so far is alarming. In the last incident, a group of seven people were threatened and mugged at Karbonkelberg between Llandudno and Hout Bay on May 25,” he said.

Other reported attacks on Table Mountain included three cyclists robbed on Table Mountain and a Norwegian exchange student who was sexually assaulted by men armed with guns who robbed her and her boyfriend on Signal Hill.

Table Mountain Watch had recorded 16 mugging incidents on the mountain last year, compared to 38 in 2011.

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The group attributed the reduction between 2011 and 2012 to the involvement of the police and an increase in the number of armed rangers patrolling the mountain park.

There were 21 attacks on 70 people in 2007, and 10 attacks on 17 people in 2009.

Van Schalkwyk yesterday said Silvermine Car Park, Black Hill, Signal Hill, Rhodes Memorial and Vredehoek trails were crime hot spots.

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The Karbonkelberg trail and Sandy Bay were also hot spots, particularly over the winter period, he said.

Merle Collins, Table Mountain National Park regional spokeswoman, said the number of attacks and muggings on the mountain was on a decline.

“We have safety plans in place… SANParks will continue to implement these plans to ensure the safety of mountain users,” she said. - The Cape Times

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