Police are on the verge of arresting more constables in the Milnerton and Table View areas who are allegedly in cahoots with crime syndicates targeting Chinese nationals.
This after two police officers were recently apprehended, along with three civilians, while they were allegedly on their way to rob a Chinese businessman in Parow.
The five are due to appear in the Bellville Magistrate’s Court on Thursday.
A charge of hijacking a motor vehicle was also expected to be added to the charge sheet of the five, who are accused of the theft of a motor vehicle from a police station, fitting it with cloned registration plates and being in possession of housebreaking equipment comprising a crowbar, cable ties and gloves.
Investigators have also established that a third police officer linked to the incident was apparently dropped off in Khayelitsha and is still on the run.
According to investigators, the five appearing on Thursday are apparently linked to several criminal activities carried out predominantly in the Northern suburbs.
It has been further alleged that two similar gangs that also included police officers were operating in Milnerton and Table View and were targeting Chinese and other businessmen.
A private investigator in the area rendering a service to businesses was said to have footage of officers involved in crime and was busy finalising the footage to hand it to the police.
He indicated that Chinese nationals were targeted because of their alleged involvement in the illicit abalone trade.
Security specialist and private investigator Mike Bolhuis said: “Police officers linked to criminal activities and syndicates is something that happens on a large scale nationwide.
“In Gauteng, we are inundated with complaints of officers allegedly involved in intimidation, bribery, extortion, housebreaking, human trafficking, gang activities and disappearance of evidence.”
A report, Corruption in Uniform, released last month by Corruption Watch, paints a grim picture of corruption in the police service and officers allegedly involved in criminal activities.
According to the civil society organisation, they received 1440 reports of corruption against the police between 2012 and last year, which included bribery, abuse of power and police colluding with criminals.
Gauteng tops the list of reports, with 52.8% followed by KwaZulu- Natal (11%), with the Western Cape contributing slightly over 8%.
Lennit Max, former adviser to Police Minister Bheki Cele, warned that a corrupt police officer was the most dangerous person because he/she could abuse their power to interfere with others’ human rights.
“When SAPS recruit and appoint an officer, there is no way that they can determine that the applicant will become involved in criminal activities.
“Corrupt police officers abuse their power for self-enrichment and greed.
“To minimise the risk, SAPS should make lie detector tests part of the recruitment process,” he said.
Max added that during a recent visit to Hanover Park, he witnessed how schoolchildren from gang- ravaged areas were protected by gangs in the areas were they resided and given safe passage to school.
“This is where the problem starts. Learners in gang-ravaged areas will say they got their matric thanks to the protection provided by gangsters.
“There is no way, if those matriculants become police officers, that they can be deployed into the area where they grew up.
“These gangs know their families and will wipe them out if those officers don’t do as they are told by gangs,” Max said.
National police spokesperson Vishnu Naidoo and provincial police spokespersons failed to reply to questions on officers’ alleged involvement in crime in Milnerton and Table View.