Swede stabbed on Lion’s Head

Lion's Head

Lion's Head

Published Feb 9, 2011


A Swedish tourist was stabbed and robbed on Lion’s Head a day after the Cape Times disclosed that incidents of crime on the mountain had risen sharply in the past three years.

On Friday the Cape Times revealed that at least 130 crimes had taken place along the Table Mountain chain in a decade, more than half of them in the past three years.

These overall figures were provided by the Table Mountain Safety Action Group (TMSAG), formed four years ago in reaction to a spate of attacks on the mountain chain.

Since the start of this year, in statistics formulated by the Cape Times, at least seven incidents of crime have taken place.

Despite being asked to, neither Table Mountain National Park (TMNP) nor the police have provided overall figures on the crime situation on the mountain chain.

TMNP released details of Saturday’s attack on the tourist by calling a local radio station and informing it of the incident, but did not contact any newspapers.

Yesterday, TMSAG spokesman Andre van Schalkwyk said that to show support for all those who had been attacked on the mountain over the years and to highlight the ongoing crime problem, hikers and other mountain users had been invited to convene at the Blockhouse above Rhodes Memorial on Sunday. There they could discuss the crime situation and walk on the mountain as a group if they wanted to.

Van Schalkwyk said he had heard about Saturday’s attack through other hikers who had been in the vicinity of the mugging.

In Saturday’s attack, the 24-year-old Swedish man was stabbed and robbed on the Sea Point side of Lion’s Head.

Sea Point police spokesman Bheki Xulu said the tourist had been hiking alone when a man armed with a knife had approached him and told him to hand over his camera and cellphone.

The tourist had not immediately done so.

“The man then pulled out a knife and stabbed the tourist three times. He ran away with the tourist’s camera, cellphone and backpack.”

The man was taken to Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital and discharged later the same day.

Xulu said the tourist, who had left South Africa by yesterday, had not been able to provide police with a clear description of his attacker as he had been so traumatised by the experience.

Three members of the Atlantic Athletic Club, who asked not to be named as they feared for their safety on the mountain, had come across the tourist moments after he was attacked.

“He was stabbed from behind in his left and right shoulder and in his side… He had used his clothing to try to stop the bleeding, but blood was oozing out and he was feeling weak when we reached him,” one of the club members said.

He and his friends called for help and TMNP members arrived at the scene soon afterwards.

SANParks regional spokeswoman Merle Collins said while no arrests had been made, criminals’ escape routes had been discovered.

She said a short-term plan to try to combat crime on the mountain included stepping up patrols.

Last week community safety MEC Albert Fritz, concerned about a lack of information about the crime situation on the mountain, called a meeting with TMNP authorities.

This would be held next week.

Fritz had also invited residents to email suggestions to his department on how the crime problem could be tackled. Practical solutions would be discussed at next week’s meeting.

Scores of residents, who said they were fed up with TMNP’s apparent lack of response to the crime situation, had since sent in their ideas.

A number had forwarded their ideas to the Cape Times. Suggestions included using trackers to study and pre-empt criminal activity, fencing off sections of the mountain and having undercover police officers pose as hikers. - Cape Times

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