“Dating sites have become haven for criminals,” warns specialist investigator

todaySeptember 21, 2023 52

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Specialist investigator, Mike Bolhuis, has warned young people to stay away from dating sites, saying they’ve become a haven for criminals.

He says they’ve received an overwhelming number of cases of young people who are lured and extorted on the sites.
“We have found that also on these dating sites, the false identities and information theft is enormous. The social media world out there is a dangerous world.”
His remarks follow the kidnapping of an 18-year-old Wits student, who was later found unconscious at a hostel in Denver, after he was reported missing by his roommate on Tuesday.

It is reported that his kidnappers used a dating app called, Grindr, to lure the teenager and later demanded ransom of R30 000 for the boy’s safe release.

Seven men have been arrested over the crime.

Bolhuis says such kidnappings are difficult to investigate because the criminals hide behind stolen identities.

“First warning would be never to send any photos of yourself whatsoever, or any information that is compromising.”
The specialist says these dating sites are usually linked to pimps, who dish out people’s personal information to syndicates and other criminal elements.
Bolhuis says kidnapping cases that occur from dating sites are usually difficult to investigate because all the information posted by the criminals is false.
Police spokesperson, Brenda Muridili, says the kidnap victim was rushed to hospital for medical attention.
She says a sting operation led to the arrest of one of the suspects, who was supposed to withdraw the ransom money on the M2.
“The police held an observation and then placed the suspect under arrest as soon as he arrived. He then led the team to Denver Men’s Hostel where the victim, aged 18, was found bound and unconscious.”
Muridili says they are currently investigating the possibility of linking these suspects to cases in Gauteng with the same modus operandi.
The suspects, who face charges of kidnapping and extortion, will appear in court soon.

Written by: Lindiwe Mpanza

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