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Men who collected ‘protection fees’ from foreign nationals nabbed in sting operation

Two suspects have been charged with extortion in the Eastern Cape. File Picture

Two suspects have been charged with extortion in the Eastern Cape. File Picture

Published Aug 25, 2023


Two men who were allegedly collecting “protection fees” from foreign nationals in the Eastern Cape were arrested by the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (known as the Hawks) in a sting operation.

The suspects, aged 33 and 35, were nabbed in Stutterheim and charged for extortion.

Provincial Hawks spokesperson, Captain Yolisa Mgolodela said police received information on Tuesday, about suspects collecting protection fees in Stutterheim from the businesses of foreign nationals.

“Information was followed and the team planned an operation for Thursday (August 24),” Mgolodela said.

“At around 2.30pm, the suspects allegedly collected money from one of the businesses and were heading towards the direction of Engen garage on foot when they were approached by the members and were apprehended on the spot.

“The money that was collected was also recovered,” she said.

Mgolodela said the suspects are expected to appear in Stutterheim Magistrate’s Court soon.

Provincial head of the Hawks, Major General Mboiki Obed Ngwenya said their teams were “hell-bent” on eradicating the mushrooming extortion criminal tendencies.

Earlier this month, the Hawks arrested two people using the same modus operandi.

The two suspects, aged between 38 and 40, were arrested for the allegations of extortion, attempted murder, and possession of unlicensed firearms and ammunition on August 13.

The task team followed up on information alleging suspects were on a mission to collect cash as a protection fee from businesses of foreign nationals in Stutterheim.

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