Chinese trio bust allegedly cloning SIM cards worth over R1 million expected in court

The items seized. Picture: Hawks

The items seized. Picture: Hawks

Published Jul 4, 2024


Three Chinese nationals are expected to appear in the Bloemfontein Magistrate’s Court in the Free State on Thursday, on charges of fraud, illegal possession of firearms, and illegal possession of ammunition.

The trio, two men and a woman, were arrested by members of the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (known as Hawks) on Tuesday, July 2.

The provincial spokesperson for the Hawks, Lieutenant Colonel Zweli Mohobeleli said a multi-faceted team comprising of different policing units, government departments, private security, and forensic investigators conducted the operation.

“Police investigators reacted to information about two houses in Woodlands, Bloemfontein, where the suspects were using unknown machines to clone data and manufacture SIM cards.

The items seized included two firearms. Picture: Hawks

“A search and seizure operation, duly authorised by the court, was conducted. SIM cards of different service providers to an estimated value of over R1 million, suspected cloning machines, cash, two firearms, and rounds of ammunition were among the items recovered at the two houses,” Mohobeleli said.

Head of the Hawks in the Free State, Major General Mokgadi Bokaba has lauded the group of officials involved in apprehending the suspects and for their diligence and teamwork during the operation.

The items seized included two firearms. Picture: Hawks

In a separate incident earlier this week, a foreign national was arrested in the province after he was found transporting R12 million worth of illicit cigarettes.

Police said the driver thought he could fool police officers at a roadblock when he pretended he was resting after a long drive.

The driver claimed to be en route to the Eastern Cape from Gauteng at the time of the roadblock.

He is expected to appear in the Rouxville Magistrate’s Court.

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