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Officials pledge dedication to seeking justice for British doctor tourist death

The Western Cape recorded its first tourist related murder last week. Picture: ARMAND HOUGH

The Western Cape recorded its first tourist related murder last week. Picture: ARMAND HOUGH

Published Aug 19, 2023


THE safety of tourists coming to the province has been reassured by officials despite a tourist-related murder last week. They said the death was the result of the tourist being in an “unsafe area”.

Last week, the Western Cape recorded its first tourist related murder this year after British doctor Kar Hao Teoh was killed while travelling to the airport. He accidentally took a wrong turn and was shot and killed during the taxi strike.

Reports suggest that Hao Teoh was travelling in the car with his wife and son.

According to his LinkedIn account, Hao Teoh was a foot and ankle consultant at the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow, Essex, in the UK.

DA spokesperson on tourism Manny de Freitas said the Western Cape was generally “super-safe” but called for tourist vigilance.

“In the last year, this was the most recent incident – which is one incident too many. Like any place that tourists visit anywhere in the world, everyone must be vigilant by being aware of one’s surroundings and keeping one’s possessions safe.

“Tourists are asked not to have expensive items such as cameras exposed. There are other incidents that occur more often, such as tourists who (for example) hike and then are lost and search and rescue operations have to take place. This too is included in literature provided at high tourism areas,” he said.

Mayco member for economic growth in the City, James Vos, said: “We are deeply saddened to hear of the death of a British citizen this past week and extend our condolences to his loved ones and all others who have become victims of this violence. The City will work with the South African Police Service to make sure that the perpetrators of these incidents are brought to book. CTT is maintaining communications with visitors and industry business.”

Police spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Malcolm Pojie said the case involving Hao Teoh had been centralised and was being investigated by seasoned detectives under the leadership of the commander of the Provincial Detective’s Serious and Violent Crime Investigation Unit.

“Safety of all inhabitants as well as tourists to the province is a top priority of the SAPS, and law and order has been restored with high density static and roaming deployment of integrated forces comprising SAPS specialised units and force multipliers such as the City of Cape Town Law Enforcement, Traffic and LEAP Officers,” he said.

The South African Medical Association (Sama) said they were aware of Hao Teoh’s death, but not aware of the contact that the doctor might have made with members of the medical profession in South Africa.

“The SA Medical Association is deeply saddened by the shocking news of the death of Dr Kar Hao Teoh. Sama sends condolences to the bereaved family and the colleagues of the British surgeon. May his soul rest in peace,” it said.

“The attack on the British surgeon is a demonstration of the high levels of crime in South Africa which proves that citizens and international tourists are not immune to crime. Healthcare professionals are not immune to crime as has been borne out by the attacks on medical doctors in public hospitals and in their private practices.

“Sama denounces this increase in crime. This latest attack shows that no one is spared of this scourge. Sama calls on the South African Police Service and other law enforcement agencies to increase vigilance and to protect citizens and international visitors.”