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21 May 2012 at 12:52 - Posted by Anonymous

R100 000 for info on blue-light gang


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Ryan Pickford wants other victims to speak out. Photo: Mujahid Safodien

Hijack victim Ryan Pickford, who had his car taken by the blue-light gang terrorising Joburgers, has raised a R100 000 reward for the first person who can offer information that can help catch and convict the cops helping the suspects.

Pickford, who was hijacked just more than a week ago, has joined forces with his sister Brenda Ross to launch an awareness campaign, urging other victims to come forward.

And they are offering R100 000 as a reward for anyone who can help nab the police assisting the gang that is terrorising the northern and eastern suburbs.

Last week, top police officials announced that a series of hijackings by police impersonators were connected, and that the syndicate must be receiving help from corrupt police officers who provide them with uniforms, bulletproof vests, blue lights and R5 police-issue rifles.

Police confirmed five separate incidents of drivers being falsely arrested and kidnapped by fully uniformed men driving a white Golf GTI fitted with blue lights in the past two weeks alone, with other incidents still being reported. In each case, the victims were stopped by the “police”, and driven across the city in their cars before being dumped – mostly unharmed.

Pickford had been to visit his wife and newborn son at Morningside Clinic and was on his way home when he was pulled over by men claiming to be police officers. After being harassed and having his car searched for a few minutes, Pickford was ordered to get out of his car.

He was then handcuffed by the officers in full uniform, armed with R5 rifles and handguns.

They led him to their car, and another man drove off in Pickford’s Porsche Cayenne.

Once he was seated on the back seat of the blue-light vehicle, Pickford was informed that this was a hijacking.

He was held at gunpoint for almost an hour and a half and verbally harassed before the hijackers dropped him off in a veld in Centurion.

Since the kidnapping, Pickford and Ross have approached – and been approached by – dozens of concerned citizens and companies who want to help put the syndicate behind bars. Their new organisation, ENOUGH!, was formed to combat police corruption, abuse and harassment.

Ross said the organisation planned to help equip citizens with the tools they needed to exercise their rights when dealing with police and create a platform where victims of police abuse could share their experiences without fear of retribution.

ENOUGH! has received support from other crime-fighting campaigns – Justice Project SA and eBlockwatch – and has raised the growing reward for the successful arrest and conviction of the police officers who have helped the syndicate.

“If we can save another family from going through the same ordeal, we’ve done our job,” Ross told The Star.

“For the rest of his life, Ryan won’t ever be able to drive without looking over his shoulder. Trusting police is becoming impossible, and we want to help drivers to know their rights,” she said.

Their website, www.enough.co.za, will be going live later this week, but their Facebook group (facebook.com/enoughsa) has already built up a dedicated following since its launch last week.

Gauteng police’s head of visible policing, Major General Phumzo Gela, warned Joburgers against pulling over in deserted areas, especially by police officers in unmarked vehicles.

Gela said that it was well within a driver’s right to drive to the nearest police station when being pursued by police vehicles – marked or unmarked. Police officers were also obligated to show their identity cards when asked for them.

ENOUGH!’s first initiative is to distribute car stickers with the slogan: “This vehicle only stops at police stations. You are welcome to follow me there!”

But Pickford and Ross believe that extra incentive will be needed to convict the men responsible and have offered the large reward.

Anyone with queries or information on the police officers involved can e-mail info@enough. co.za

The Star

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