Three Cape Town Grindr Gang Suspects Appear in Court

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Three Gauteng men, believed to be part of the “Grindr Gang” syndicate that terrorised several gay and bisexual men in Cape Town, have been arrested and appeared in the Cape Town Magistrates Court on Tuesday.

Earlier this month, we reported the case of a gay man who was lured into meeting a coffee date via the Grindr gay dating app.

Upon arrival at a nearby apartment building on Cape Town’s Shortmarket Street, the victim was ambushed by two men. He was strangled, tied up with his shoelaces and socks, stripped naked, and filmed. Armed with a gun and a knife, the attackers threatened to kill him if he resisted.

The assailants forced him to give them access to his bank accounts, demanded money from his family, and robbed him of R3,000 before releasing him.

Days later, we were informed that three men, all from Soweto, using the same modus operandi, were arrested in the Woodstock area after targeting another man.

The victim from Shortmarket Street positively identified the three men as the same individuals who had attacked and robbed him.

According to News24, police are investigating a third incident in Cape Town involving the suspects in the Bo-Kaap area of the city.

The suspects, named as Mlungisi Vincent Mbutu, Bongani Zulu, and Zwelakhe Ngwenya, are further linked to cases in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal. Zulu and Ngwenya had previously appeared in a related pending court case in Gauteng.

While trying to flee from the police during their arrest in Woodstock, Ngwenya broke his leg after jumping over a wall. Facing charges of kidnapping and extortion, the men are next set to appear in court on 3 July. The state intends to oppose bail.

Grindr Gang Syndicate Targeting LGBTQ+ Men In South Africa

South Africa has been plagued by an ongoing epidemic of violent and sometimes deadly abductions and robberies targeting members of the LGBTQ+ community on dating apps and sites for several years.

While most incidents have been reported in Gauteng, incident have also been reported in Cape Town and Durban.

While most victims have reported being lured through the Grindr dating app, criminals also use other platforms including Surge and Facebook to target members of the LGBTQ+ community.

These incidents stand out as hate crimes because the victims are targeted based on their sexuality, are potentially more vulnerable due to social stigma, and because they are less likely to report the attacks out of fear of being outed, shamed, or facing secondary victimisation from the authorities.

Additionally, victims often receive uncaring and incompetent service from police officials who show little interest in taking prompt or effective action.

  • To read Mamba’s online dating and hook-up safety tips, click here
  • To read Grindr’s safety and privacy guidelines, click here

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