'Cops beat us up over false charges'
A CHINESE businessman and seven colleagues live in fear after they were arrested and allegedly tortured by Durban Central police officers who accused them of robbery, assaulting police and defeating the ends of justice.
Yunbin Cai, who owns several businesses in the Durban central business district, claims that the "fabricated" charges were levelled after a hawker was caught stealing from one of his businesses.
"When the manager asked her why she was stealing, she swore at him and left. The next day, she returned and continued swearing. The manager manhandled her. She then called the police who accused us of assaulting her," Cai said.
He said while trying to explain what had transpired the officers called for back-up and several police vans arrived and that is when all hell broke loose.
"They started beating us, kicked and shoved us into their vans. While I was accused of assaulting the hawker, the others were arrested for watching.
"We were taken to Durban Central police station where we were locked up for the night," he said.
Cai said three officers continued assaulting them in the cells. He also claimed that 10 cellphones were taken by police during the raid at his business and only two were returned.
The assault was caught on closed circuit television.
"The police made up the charges. They accused me of stealing a wallet with R3000, police car keys and a petrol card," Cai said.
According to Dr Shanil Ramjettan, the businessman suffered an eye injury and skull fracture, soft tissue bruising over the face and cheek and has lost hearing in the left ear.
Cai's lawyer, Asif Latib, said they had reported the matter to the Independent Police Investigative Directorate and would sue.
The eight appeared in the Durban Magistrate's Court and were granted R1000 bail each. They will appear in court again on Wednesday.
IPID spokesman Moses Dlamini confirmed that charges had been laid.
"We have already began our investigations into this matter," Dlamini said.