3 arrested for journo robbery

2010-06-10 12:09
Johannesburg - Three people have been arrested for robbing three foreign journalists in Magaliesburg, north-west of Johannesburg, police chief General Bheki Cele said on Thursday.

"It is unfortunate that our visitors had to endure such an experience and I hope that the swift reaction of the police will give them the confidence to enjoy the rest of their trip, this wonderful country and the beautiful game," Cele said.

"The local police, detectives and intelligence joined forces and followed up several leads, resulting in three men being taken into custody during the night of 9-10 June 2010."

Several stolen items were recovered.

The three men were set to appear in court within 48 hours.

Safe environment

Cele said he wanted to assure foreign media that "the police of this country are determined to create a safe environment for the 2010 FIFA World Cup".

The three journalists, two Portuguese and one Spanish, who are in South Africa to cover the World Cup, were robbed at gunpoint at the Nutbush Boma lodge in Magaliesburg on Wednesday morning.

The Times newspaper named them as Antonio Simoes, Rui Gustavo and Miquel Cerano.

The police detained a South African journalist from The Times newspaper, Charl du Plessis, on the scene, claiming that he did not follow the correct police procedures.

The newspaper said Du Plessis got in trouble for writing down the names of two policemen.

He was detained but later released after his editor and national and provincial police officers intervened.

Magaliesburg mayor Koketso Seerane on Thursday condemned the robbery of the journalists.

"The people of Mogale City strongly condemn this barbaric act and will work closely with the police in ensuring that perpetrators are brought to book and dealt with," he said.

Seerane said his municipality was committed to ensuring the safety of all their visitors.

"We express our sympathy and support to the victims of this robbery."

More journalists robbed

Meanwhile, Beeld newspaper reported that three Chinese journalists were robbed of a camera while a Korean broadcasting official was robbed of his passport and R12,000 cash.

The three Chinese journalists, Di Wanyong, Pan Yan and Wu Fang, were robbed about four kilometres from Soccer City in Soweto, when the window of their car was smashed and a camera was stolen on Tuesday.

The head contractor of a Korean broadcasting company was reportedly attacked in the men's room at Carlton Centre, Johannesburg.

According to Beeld, quoting the Dong-A Ilbo newspaper's website, the 38-year-old man was overpowered and throttled.

When he came to, he discovered that his passport and cash were missing.

The national police spokespeople were not immediately reachable on Thursday to confirm the reports

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