Police warn of bogus cops


MASERU — Police have warned the public of a gang of conmen masquerading as traffic police officers in Maseru.
The gang is targeting pedestrians, the police said this week. They will accuse their victim of violating traffic regulations before taking them to a secluded part of the town where they rob them. Police spokesperson Masupha Masupha said they received two reports from people who had been robbed of their monies by the gang. In both cases the conmen told their victims that they had been “arrested” for violating traffic regulations. “These bogus police officers accuse pedestrians of crossing at wrong points of the road,” Masupha said. He said in one of the incidents three conmen accused a pedestrian of crossing the road at an undesignated place. They then told him that they were traffic officers and he was under arrest. They then asked the pedestrian to accompany them to the charge office where he supposedly was going to be fined or kept until he appeared in court. But instead of the charge office they took the victim to a secluded part of the town. There, they asked the victim to put all his money in an envelope for “safe-keeping”. One of the conmen then left with the envelope claiming he was going to hand over the money to his seniors. After some time the two remaining conmen then started complaining that their colleague had been gone for too long. They then told the victim to wait for them while they went to look for their colleague.
Masupha said it only dawned on the victim that he had been conned when the “police officers” never came back. Masupha said the victim told the police that the gang members were wearing gray or black blankets, white gumboots and holding their mabetlela sticks. He said they seem to be targeting people who work in South Africa and those from the rural areas. He added that the case of conmen masquerading as police officers was a new phenomenon. He said members of the public should always as police officers toproduce their identification cards before an arrest.


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