A 43-year-old man from Onrus in the Hermanus area saw his compassion backfire on him when he was hijacked on Friday evening.
The man was on his way home from nearby Sandbaai, where he had been spending the evening with friends, when a man jumped in front of his vehicle, seemingly desperate for help with their car apparently broken down in the road. When the man exited the car to help, he was confronted by a loaded gun pointed to his head by the man who had flagged him down.
He got into the assailant’s car and was driven to Hawston. The driver reportedly picked up friends and smoked drugs with them along the way. Police spokesperson Captain FC van Wyk said in a statement on Monday, “The suspect told the complainant to get into the boot of his vehicle. They drove to Kleinmond and tied him up and choked him with a rope.
“He sustained bruises to his neck and hands and received treatment at hospital.”
A gutted car was later discovered in the nearby town of Hawston, but it is yet to be identified.
Disguising themselves as someone in need of roadside assistance is just one of the many ways hijackers are fooling drivers and luring them out of their vehicles.
Nearly 50 hijacking incidents take place every day across South Africa, according to SAPS statistics, with Cape Town experiencing as many as six a day.
One method used frequently by hijackers in the Cape Town area is the “tap tap” method. With this method, a driver behind the victim – often a female, to lower the target’s defense and catch them off-guard – lightly bumps the back of their car. Many targeted drivers then feel the urge to leave their cars and assess the damage, which is when they fall prey to hijacking. Instead, motorists who find this happening to them should drive to a busy, safe place nearby to assess the damage to their vehicle.
Another method is called the “blue light method“, in which motorists are pulled over by imposters posing as traffic or police officials in often unmarked vehicles. Once the driver pulls over, they are overpowered and their vehicle taken.
Hijackers often target their victims at fuel stations. In these cases, they hijack their victim while they are filling up their car tank. They approach the driver from their blind-spot and force them out of the car before making off with it.
Fidelity ADT partnered with the National Hijack Prevention Academy to share a few tips on how you can prevent hijacking or be as safe as possible:
1. If you find yourself in a situation where you believe you are being followed on your way home, slow down and switch on your indicator two or three houses early. This could cause the criminals to lose interest or be forced to pass you
2. Always leave your keys in your car should you need to manually open your gate, except in the case of having a small child in the car
3. Only stop if you can see the back wheels of the car in front of you, this allows for more maneuverability
4. Beware of and do not fall for the ‘tap tap’ method
5. Don’t be fooled into thinking you are safer if you stay in a security complex, stay alert and cautious.
What to do if you are successfully hijacked
1. Do not antagonise the hijackers, show you are not a threat and remain calm
2. Lift your arms to show you are not a threat and that you are unarmed
3. Don’t switch your car off and get out slowly
4. Avoid direct eye contact but try to take in what the criminals are wearing and what they sound like, and protect your head with your arms.