Motorists terrorised on the N3

Yusuf Abramjee

Yusuf Abramjee

Published Mar 2, 2024


A COUPLE this week told how they were hijacked, stabbed and held for hours until their bank accounts were cleaned out by the notorious blue light gang, terrorising motorists on the N3 near Heidelberg and Vosloorus.

Earlier that day, a doctor travelling from Newcastle to Johannesburg suffered a similar fate.

The gang comprises three bogus policemen and two men dressed as civilians.

On Monday, crime activist Yusuf Abramjee supplied the POST with voice notes from the victims, in which they detailed their ordeal.

The gang’s first victim was the well-known doctor who was hijacked near Heidelberg.

He said he unfortunately stopped when a white Toyota double cab, with blue lights pulled up behind him, just after the toll gate.

At the time, the doctor believed the men to be real police officers and did not doubt their credibility.

“When I stopped, a guy came up to my window in full police uniform. He asked for my driver’s licence. As soon as I opened my window - just a little bit - to give him my licence, he forced his hand in and unlocked my car.

“Four other guys jumped into my car. They tied me up, put me in the back seat and sat on me before they drove off,” said the doctor.

He said the suspects drove through on gravel roads for about 40 to 45 minutes and eventually stopped in the middle of a maize field.

“They lay me down on the ground in the mud,” he said.

The doctor claimed that while two of the assailants kept watch over him, the others communicated on the phone from a nearby ATM.

“They demanded my pin codes and cleaned out my accounts,” he said.

“About an hour later, another family was also brought to the same spot where I was held hostage,” he said.

In a second incident a short while later, a man was travelling with his wife and child in the Toyota Landcruiser, along the same stretch of road, when a white double cab (GD6) flagged them down by flashing their lights.

“There were five guys. Three dressed in full police uniform, armed with pistols and a glock. The other two came out when they eventually got us to stop. At this point I was trying to get away. The two other guys were in civilian clothes.

“They grabbed us and threw us. They stabbed and hit my wife. I was stabbed in the car on the N3 when they were hijacking us … as I was trying to get away,” he said.

The family were taken to the same spot in the maize field, where the doctor was being held.

The doctor was in the field already. “I didn't know he was there. They threw us on the ground. When they tied my legs, he grabbed my foot. He was rubbing my foot and I knew it was someone. Then I heard his voice,” said the man.

It is believed the victims managed to walk to the road and get help after the suspects left.

Abramjee said the N3 has been a hotspot for hijackings for a long time.

“Both the doctor and the family were held hostage in the maize field until after midnight, when their back accounts were cleaned out. A number of blue light incidents have been reported on this road but there is little or no police visibility,” said Abramjee.

He said there needed to be sustained, long-term police visibility on that stretch of road.

Abramjee said Heidelberg was also a hotspot for truck hijackings.

“Special police operations must be planned to catch the culprits involved. I suspect there are a number of blue light gangs operating in the area because the modus operandi is the same. Many motorists driving on that stretch of the road are now driving in fear,” he said.

Juan Burger, from Danie Day Private Investigators, said they had been conducting investigations into the truck hijacking on the N3.

He said it was unclear if it was a syndicate or actual officers doing “sideline, after hours work”.

His team are dealing with between 30 and 40 hijackings on that stretch per month.

“The trucks are targeted for their loads and Heidelberg has been a hotspot for a long time. In recent years, we arrested a number of suspects, and sadly some of them turned out to be police officers, traffic officers and metro police from a bike unit. Some of them were found in possession of the hijacked vehicles. In one case, when we took the victim to the police station to open a case, he pointed out that the policeman in the charge office was one of the assailants. We found that flying squad members were behind the hijacking at one stage,” Burger said.

Police have tried to set up visible policing at the toll gate. “But without patrolling and being on the road, they won't catch the syndicate. The police operate from stationary vehicles and conduct random stops and searches,” he said.


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