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Eight expected in court as chopper falls on Black Axe crime syndicate

20 October 2021 - 06:30
Special task force members at one of the properties raided in Parklands, Cape Town, on Tuesday.
Special task force members at one of the properties raided in Parklands, Cape Town, on Tuesday.
Image: Supplied

Residents in some of Cape Town’s west coast suburbs woke up on Tuesday to the sun rising through palm trees and the sounds of doors being knocked down by masked men in camouflage fatigues.

Table View, north of the Cape Town CBD, is a quiet neighbourhood, disturbed mostly by the proliferation of Ferraris and other luxury vehicles. These vehicles are there thanks to the good fortunes of an online dating scam syndicate which operated in the neighbourhood far away from the majority of their victims, elderly women and men, widows and divorcees from around the world, searching online for one last chance at love.

About 6am on Tuesday, 160 members of various law-enforcement units descended on nine different locations in Table View where they arrested just about the entire top leadership structure of the Nigerian crime syndicate Black Axe.

The Hawks said on Tuesday that eight people were arrested in the raids, but TimesLIVE understands that a ninth suspect is being sought by police, US law- enforcement authorities and Interpol.  

The eight who were arrested are expected to appear in the Cape Town magistrate's court on Wednesday.

Sources said that many members of the lower echelons of the organisation, which has a membership in SA running into the hundreds, have booked into hotels and guest houses and have started booking plane tickets in attempts to flee the country.

One Parklands resident who witnessed one of the raids on his neighbour’s home spoke to TimesLIVE on condition of anonymity.

“This morning before 6am the dog was barking, and when I went out I saw vehicles were outside. At that time they already gone into one house. I saw members of SAPS, the Hawks, as well as the army,” said the resident. “There were probably more than 12 vehicles in the road. They were looking at two properties and going in. I heard the banging of the door. They probably bulldozed the door, so there were loud bangs and that woke me up as well,” he said.

He said when he saw the commotion outside his home his mind was immediately taken back to all the times he had seen Ferraris and other luxury vehicles gathering outside the house.

“There is everything from Ferraris all the way to top-of-the-range Mercs parking in our road and you have no idea where they are getting their money from, so it always appeared a little bit dodgy at times,” said the resident.

He said the raid left him with a feeling of optimism that authorities had taken action against what he believed may have been criminals.

“I feel extremely optimistic that SAPS and the Hawks are doing everything possible to bring crime down. We want to see convictions,” he said.