150102 - Cape Town. A 26 year old Russian woman,Hope Kozina, who has been living in Cape Town for the past four years gives her account of her ordeal at the hands of a mini bus taxi driver and his taxi guard. She was alledgedly abducted by these two men when they gave her a ride to her flat in Sea Point. They mugged and assaulted her and then dropped her off in Athlone yesterday afternoon. Reporter: Kowthar Solomons. pic : Jason Boud

Cape Town - A Sea Point woman survived a terrifying ordeal when she was abducted, held captive and had money stolen from her bank account on New Year’s Day by two men posing as a minibus taxi driver and guard in Green Point.

Hope Kozina, 26, was abducted and bound for 40 minutes of hell after she boarded a taxi in Green Point Main Road on Thursday.

The white vehicle was empty except for the driver and the taxi guard.

“I asked the driver to drop me at the bottom of Ocean View Drive but he insisted he would drop me at the top because the road was so steep. When I wanted to get out of the taxi, the guard forced me to the floor and grabbed my bag and threw it to the driver.

“I screamed and struggled as the taxi guard tried to cover my mouth with his left hand. I bit it (his hand) hard enough to draw blood and made him scream in pain.

“The guard hit me in the face and threatened to cut off my finger for what I did to him. He eventually forced me down to the floor and I knew it was better to give them what they wanted. I was scared of being raped or killed but I knew I had to stay as calm as possible if I wanted to make it out alive.”

The two men bound her hands and feet with tape and forced her to lie down next to the driver’s seat. They left her mouth uncovered so she could tell them the PIN numbers for her bank cards and cellphone.

“They found my stun gun in my bag and threatened to use it on me. They kept telling me they only wanted money but also threatened to kill me if I screamed for help. We must have driven around for 40 minutes and every second of it was hell. I knew they could kill me at any minute. I just tried to stay as calm as possible and prayed I would make it out alive.

“Every minute I lay tied up in the taxi was another minute I thought I was going to die. I had no idea where I was or what they were going to do to me. All I could do was stay strong and pray I would survive.”

The taxi driver stopped and then used her bank card to withdraw R1 500 from her account. The taxi stopped for a second time when the driver asked if he could use her bank card to buy groceries.

The taxi stopped one more time and the two men told Kozina they would let her go.

“They told me they were going to take off my dress and I would be able to run to the police station. I became hysterical and instead they dragged me out of the taxi by my hair and dumped me on the side of the road.”

Kozina wanted to memorise the number plate of the taxi but it didn’t have one.

She stood along what she thinks was the inbound lane of the N2, near the Jan Smuts Drive off-ramp.

“I didn’t know where I was because I haven’t lived in Cape Town for long. I still have to show the police exactly where it happened. I screamed for help but everyone kept driving by. Eventually a taxi stopped. I was hesitant to get in but I saw they were plenty of people in it. After my nightmare in a taxi I never thought it would be another taxi that would save me.”

The taxi took Kozina to the Athlone police station while a passenger lent Kozina a cellphone to contact her friends and family.

She spent the next few hours at the police station and the hospital, where she received treatment for minor bruises.

Kozina said she wanted to warn others about her attackers.

“I know they were waiting for someone like me. The fact that the taxi didn’t have licence plates proves it. But I am extremely grateful I was not raped or worse, killed.”

Police confirmed that a case of robbery and kidnapping had been opened. Captain FC Van Wyk said: “The matter is under investigation.”

Weekend Argus