Hawks bust eight suspected illegal coal miners in Mpumalanga
Jan Bornman | 2017-05-25 16:47:07.0
Image by: Gallo Images/Thinkstock
Police in Belfast in Mpumalanga made a major breakthrough on Thursday with the arrest of eight suspected illegal coal miners.
Mpumalanga Hawks spokesperson Captain Dineo Lucy Sekgotodi said members of the Hawks‚ Middelburg K9 unit and Bidvest Protea Coin Security arrested eight people between the ages of 25 and 57.
They were arrested at the Wonderfontein Mine in Belfast and charged with theft of coal and attempted murder in what she described as a dramatic arrest.
Sekgotodi said the attempted murder charge was added after the suspects attempted to run the arresting officers over with one of the trucks‚ damaging a police vehicle in the process.
According to the police‚ the criminals made a deal with security officers who were on night duty on Wednesday night to give them access to the mine.
“There was an amount of money paid by the suspects to some of the security officers on night duty in order to gain entry‚ estimated amount between R35‚000 and R50‚000‚” Sekgotodi said.
She said police managed to recover R175‚000 worth of coal and 12 trucks worth around R30 million following the arrests.
The Hawks were appealing to anyone with information about the case to come forward‚ as there were still seven suspects who managed to escape‚ including three security officers who escaped with a firearm.
“The police officers are still tracing the other suspects and they will never rest until all suspects are behind the bars‚” Sekgotodi said.
The eight arrested suspects will be appearing in the Belfast magistrate’s court on Friday.