A man who was lured via the internet to meet a stranger in Pretoria says he was stripped naked, blackmailed and robbed.
There, he discovered that the man had three accomplices who then allegedly forced him to take off his clothes. The man was robbed of two phones, worth around R10, each, cash and his bank card. Sunnyside police are investigating a case of robbery.
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Officers believe that an individual accused of operating online dating scams in the area is involved. The suspect was arrested last year on charges of robbery and kidnapping, but is currently out on bail.
The incident is the latest in a series of similar attacks on gay and bi men who have set up meetings via dating or hookup apps and sites, particularly in Pretoria. In November last year, Mambaonline reported the story of a Johannesburg man who was beaten, held hostage and robbed in Sunnyside when he arranged to meet someone he got to know on the PlanetRomeo dating site.
His experience was similar to that of another Johannesburg man who was abused and robbed in April after he arranged a hook-up through the gay dating site Manhunt, also at an address in Pretoria. Police believe that the deceased and a friend who had accompanied him were lured to the flat through an online advert for the sale of a high-end camera. Reports suggest that upon arrival inside the flat, they were attacked by a group of men who allegedly robbed them of cash and cellphones. While the friend managed to escape, the other victim was allegedly pushed through the window and he fell to his death.
The suspects fled the scene and no-one has been arrested.
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Typically, the men are held hostage at gunpoint, often stripped naked and then forced to transfer money to the robbers and give them access to their bank cards. While some victims have been beaten there are no reports of anyone losing their lives. Mambaonline reported on two recent cases that took place on 21 March and 1 April. While the police are unable to confirm that the latest attackers are the same criminals who have been targeting gay men, they say it is quite possibly the case.
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Victims that we have spoken to have all expressed their frustration at the uninterested and unprofessional manner in which officers have dealt with their cases. They also question why these incidents have been allowed to continue to take place for years. This week, Mambaonline received a report from one victim of a gay online dating incident that took place almost three years ago.
He revealed that despite an offer to draw an identikit picture of the three main men who attacked him, and to accompany the police to the apartment where he was held, nothing had been done in his case. He also believes that there may be more than one group behind the crimes, all using the same modus operandi.