Johannesburg - Two suspects already had cash in their hands when members of the Hawks burst into their hotel room and arrested them for extortion.
The men were part of a syndicate that the Hawks have been trailing for allegedly trying to extort money from business people.
On Wednesday, the Hawks had a stakeout at a hotel in Midrand, waiting for the men to get R300 000 from a businessman. One of the men were arrested just outside the hotel entrance.
When two others who were in the hotel room realised their associate had been arrested, they tried to run out through the fire escape. But their escape was short lived as the hotel had been surrounded.
Hawks spokesperson Captain Ndivhuwo Mulamu said they arrested three men from Mamelodi West aged between 57 and 34. The three have been charged with corruption and extortion.
“The trio tried to solicit a bribe from a prominent Gauteng businessman. The businessman cannot be named due to the ongoing investigation in which he is implicated,” Mulamu said.
The men had claimed to the businessman that one of them was a Major-General working for the Hawks and could squash the case against him.
For the sting, the Hawks made photocopies of the money used for the illegal transaction. After the arrests, they were shown photocopies the police had made.
Mulamu said they hope to link the men to the more cases of extortion. “We can confirm that we are trying to link the trio to three other investigations. In one instance they solicited about R500 000 from a politician,” Mulamu said.
The three are set to appear in the Midrand Magistrate's Court.