Car smuggling ring bust

Riot Hlatshwayo

Riot Hlatshwayo

Mpumalanga police believe they have cracked a crime syndicate that smuggles vehicles from the country to Mozambique.

So far police in Nkomazi have arrested five suspects in connection with the smuggling of vehicles some of whose owners were killed during hijackings.

Three of the suspects briefly appeared before the Tonga magistrates' court on Monday.

Aaron Madolo, 36, Johan Ndobe, 32, and Richard Shabangu, 32, were remanded in custody until their next court appearance later this month.

The three joined two other suspects who were arrested earlier for the same offences. They are: Titus Mawelela, 34, and Lucas Sibitane, 36.

The suspects are said to be working with a beautiful woman who lures male motorists into the bushes and while there the attackers pounce on the motorist.

"The suspects' cases are increasing by day and investigations have so far revealed that some of the smuggled vehicles are already in Mozambique and we are currently making arrangements to fetch them," said Tonga police spokesman Constable Mzwandile Nyambi yesterday.

"We have established that the woman is currently receiving traditional medication in Mozambique but she is an accomplice in these cases in which at least three men were killed while with her," said Nyambi.