From Times Live
Robbed couple want to appear on British TV to take wraps off crime in SA.
"It's a wonderful country, really beautiful and dynamic. But as you go around you see these lovely houses, each one topped with razor wire and electric fences and then you realise the enormity of the problem"
A British couple robbed by a bogus cop near Johannesburg will head home this week to warn 2010 soccer fans about South Africa's crime wave.
Retired British Airways manager David Gunner, 70, and his wife, Vivienne, were robbed of almost R14 000 by a plain-clothes "policeman" in a BMW soon after leaving OR Tambo airport this month. The robber waved as he sped off.
Now the seasoned travellers from Berkshire in the south of England plan to approach two British television talk shows, including Watchdog, the BBC's consumer advocacy programme, to warn British soccer fans to be vigilant during next year's World Cup.
"There are plenty of football fans very keen to come to South Africa next year. I want to tell them they must come at their peril," said Gunner from his Ballito hotel yesterday. The couple fly home on Wednesday.
"This is what happened to us and you have to be on your guard all the time and you really must be alert ... South Africa is quite a violent society," he said.
The couple arrived in Johannesburg earlier this month and hired a car to drive directly to Ballito on the KwaZulu-Natal North Coast. Five minutes after leaving the airport, Gunner noticed three men in a BMW driving close by.
Gunner said a well-dressed and courteous man in his early 30s flashed him a "star badge", indicated that he was a policeman and asked the tourists to pull over.
"He said he was a policeman and showed me his badge. It's similar to the one the police have in Europe. He told me there was a problem with guns and drugs and asked to search our car.
"His badge looked authentic and he was very convincing."
While the other two men remained in the car, Gunner said, the man searched his wife's handbag, took out their traveller's wallet, removed R10000 in cash and then left the money on the dashboard.
"My wife thought it was suspicious, so she took the cash off the dashboard and put it away, not back in her handbag."
Gunner said the man searched the handbag again and found another wallet "stuffed full of notes", including rands, dollars and euros. "He went through the charade of checking it and suddenly he scampered off to the car and that was it."
Gunner tried to give chase but the man made a U-turn on the freeway - and then waved at him as he sped off.
Gunner reported the incident to the Bedfordview police station, which confirmed a robbery docket had been opened.
"It really put a damper on our holiday. We couldn't stop thinking about it.
"It's a wonderful country, really beautiful and dynamic. But as you go around you see these lovely houses, each one topped with razor wire and electric fences and then you realise the enormity of the problem," Gunner said.
Hat tip: AMB