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Businessman helps Hawks catch trio wanting cash to make cases vanish

16 August 2018 - 12:23 By Timeslive
Three suspects have been arrested for allegedly impersonating Hawks investigators.
Three suspects have been arrested for allegedly impersonating Hawks investigators.
Image: SUHAIB SALEM

A "prominent businessman" approached by a person pretending to be a Hawks major-general - who was soliciting money to make a case against him disappear - decided not to fall into the trap. Instead‚ his actions led to a sting operation that netted three bogus cops.

Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi of the Hawks said on Thursday that three suspects aged between 33 and 51 have been arrested for allegedly impersonating Hawks investigators‚ in an undercover operation.

The bust went down in Midrand on Wednesday.

After they were contacted by the businessman‚ Mulaudzi said an investigation swiftly revealed that the "major-general" was an impersonator.

"On Wednesday afternoon‚ the three suspects were lured into a police trap and were immediately arrested. Various items were seized pending further investigations.

The national head of the Hawks‚ Lieutenant-General Godfrey Lebeya‚ described the arrest as a breakthrough in policing.

“We have been receiving numerous complaints of scams by so-called Hawks members targeting high-profile people in the country‚ both in government and in private business‚ demanding cash to throw away cases.

“We believe there is a syndicate that is using false Hawks credentials to rob and scam people and investigations are under way to locate the masterminds behind this criminal conduct."

Lebeya stressed that Hawks officers would never call a suspect to demand money. "We urge people to report any potential scam attempts to their local police stations where it can be shared with law enforcement."

The three arrested suspects are expected to appear at the Midrand Magistrate’s Court on Friday facing charges of corruption and extortion. "Further charges cannot be ruled out‚" said Mulaudzi. 

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