"I am a hitman and have been hired to kill you. But if you pay me, your life will be saved."
This was how a 27-year-old conman stole R105000 from his victims in what police described as "a silent scam".
Together with two accomplices, aged 33 and 40, the bogus hitman extorted money from priests, taxi owners and school principals in Bergville, Estcourt and Gauteng.
The three were arrested on Wednesday in Durban and will appear in court soon on extortion charges.
Superintendent Muzi Mngomezulu said the men knew the background of each of their victims, and would tell them they had been hired to kill them.