A “famous” South African actor and his two accomplices were expected to appear in the Booysens Magistrates’ Court on Monday on charges of impersonating police officials, kidnapping and extortion.
The trio, aged between 27 and 38, were arrested on Friday during a Hawks operation at South Gate Mall, when they allegedly attempted to extort money from a businessman.
The South African Police Service explained in a statement: “It is alleged the businessman was contacted by one of the suspects in June this year and claimed that he was referred to him by his partner.
“They met at a mutual place in Isando, however, on his arrival he was pressurised to drive with the suspect to a house in Klopperpark, east of Johannesburg.
“On their arrival the complainant alleged that the suspect took out diamonds, placed on the table and from nowhere they were joined by two other suspects who presented themselves as police officials. They immediately demanded a R100,000 bribe from the businessman to squash the illegal diamond deal.
“He had some money in his wallet which they took. They went further and they demanded to view the complainant’s bank balance on his mobile phone. They allegedly forcibly took him and proceeded to Kempton Park and Fourways where he managed to withdraw R31,000 and was released thereafter.
“The businessman ordeal was reported to the Hawks’ Serious Corruption Investigation team on Wednesday. On Friday the team managed to set up a drop-off at South Gate Mall where the balance would be paid.
“One of the suspects jumped into the complainant’s vehicle to collect the money and he was arrested after the exchange.”
After witnessing the arrest, two other suspects who were in two separate vehicles allegedly attempted to escape, to no avail.
They face seven charges of impersonating police officials, extortion, theft, kidnapping, corruption, defeating the ends of justice and aiding a criminal.
Though the identity of the suspect has not been confirmed by the SAPS, Sunday World reported that he was an actor on SABC 2’s soapie Muvhango.