By Hassan Isilow
Members of a Turkish Airlines crew returned to Turkey after being robbed this week in Johannesburg, Turkey’s envoy to South Africa told Anadolu Agency on Friday.
The crew members were attacked and robbed in Johannesburg’s upscale suburb of Sandton as they left their hotel in a shuttle for the airport, said Elif Comoglu Ulgen, the Turkish ambassador to South Africa.
“It was unfortunate incident. They took their valuables, but the crew was later taken care of and they flew back to Turkey,” she told Anadolu Agency via telephone.
Reached by phone, Johannesburg police spokesman Colonel Lungelo Dlamini told Anadolu Agency the victims have not filed any police report.
Yusuf Abramjee, vice president of the Crime Stoppers International, told Anadolu Agency there have been many incidents where people are followed by criminals from airports in Johannesburg and robbed at either their homes or hotels.
“There are several gangs and they are dangerous. This is their specialty. They follow passengers from OR Tambo International Airport and rob them along the way to their destinations,” he explained.
While some arrests have been made, he added, these criminals “are running amok. They are brazen and heavily armed. They chose their targets from the airport.”
He said over the past two weeks, there have so far been four incidents reported. “On Thursday night, there were two attacks and one victim was shot in the arm when he arrived on a domestic flight from the airport, outside his home.”
He called on police and airport authorities to take “urgent steps.”
Abramjee said he was worried that tourism to South Africa would also be affected.
“When you get pilots and airline crews being attacked, you have an even bigger problem,” he said.