Money laundering, human trafficking, racketeering, assault, extortion and sexual exploitation are some of the charges brought against a group of ten suspects involved in an elaborate operation that involved several brothels in Cape Town.
The entire operation crumbled after they were bust by the Hawks in 2017. The group’s modus operandi included recruiting young females, including minors, to work in brothels by grooming them before sexually exploiting them. The victims were deprived of their freedom while they were kept in the brothels and were regularly assaulted. They were also forced to partake in criminal activities, including shoplifting, extortion, and housebreaking. The victims were also manipulated with threats of grievous bodily harm being done to their friends and family.
Two suspects appeared in the Cape Town High Court last week on charges relating to the same case.
Natasha Chang (41), was sentenced to “three years imprisonment wholly suspended for five years with stringent conditions”. This sentencing was handed down on charges of human trafficking for sexual exploitation, money laundering, kidnapping of a minor, assault with the intent to do grievous bodily harm, living on the proceeds of crime, as well as extortion that amounted to approximately R3-million, according to the South African Police Service.
In addition, she was placed under correctional supervision for three years. This includes community service for 48 hours every month, and compulsory participation in life skills development and support programmes.
Chang was arrested on August 4, 2017 after she handed herself over to the Cape Town Central Police Station. She had many links to brothels across Cape Town, with some in Milnerton, Table View, Big Bay and Bellville.
Her accomplice, Camilla Amelia de Waal Rossouw (32), appeared in the Cape Town High Court on Monday, June 29 – several days after Chang. Her sentence has not yet been publicised.
Several clients who made use of the brothel’s services were extorted between 2012 and 2015, and paid the group well to ensure their sexual encounters would not be posted on social media.
Earlier this year, on March 6, three suspects in the group pleaded guilty and were sentenced by the Cape Town High Court. These include:
– Shantel Reynecke-Bridger (47) who was sentenced to 20-years imprisonment on two counts of racketeering. Ten years are suspended, with five years with “stringent conditions”.
– Juan Francois Warren (41) was convicted of two counts of racketeering, and received the same sentence as Reynecke-Bridger.
– Robin Reyneke (30) was sentenced to 20-years imprisonment for two counts of racketeering, suspended for five years with stringent conditions. He was also fined R50 000 or faces two more years imprisonment. Other sentences imposed on Reyneke were suspended for five years with stringent conditions.
On September 30, 2019 two additional suspects, Norman Bridger (34) and Michael D’ Oliveira (41), were convicted after a plea sentence.
Bridger was sentenced to 20-years imprisonment for racketeering, of which 10-years was suspended for five years. He was sentenced to six years imprisonment on each count of extortion, of which three years is suspended for five years. Twelve years imprisonment for six counts of money laundering of which six years is suspended for five years, as well as 12 months imprisonment for living on the proceeds of crime, suspended for five years. All sentences imposed are said to run concurrently.
D’Olivera was sentenced to 20-years imprisonment for racketeering of which 10-years is suspended for five years. He was also sentenced to six years imprisonment for two counts of money laundering of which six years is suspended for five years. He is required to pay a R20 000 fine.
More suspects included Fereez Allie (37), who was found guilty and sentenced to three years imprisonment for assault, and Achmad Tofa (44) and Babalwa Nozigwaba (39) who were acquitted.
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