Police officers foil OR Tambo airport thugs

Police arrested two suspects and killed one on Sunday in what they believe is a major breakthrough in robberies targeting passengers at OR Tambo International Airport in Kempton Park. / DANIEL BORN
Police arrested two suspects and killed one on Sunday in what they believe is a major breakthrough in robberies targeting passengers at OR Tambo International Airport in Kempton Park. / DANIEL BORN

Police have arrested two suspected criminals and killed one in what they believe is a major breakthrough in robberies targeting passengers at OR Tambo International Airport in Ekurhuleni.

Police yesterday said the men could be linked to a spate of robberies involving travellers from the airport.

Two men were arrested, and firearms and a hijacked vehicle seized on the N3 highway on Sunday.

Police spokesman Brigadier Vish Naidoo said police received a tip-off about a group of men using a white Mercedes-Benz ML targeting passengers travelling from the airport.

"The team followed up on the intelligence and spotted the Mercedes-Benz travelling from the airport. Attempts to have the suspect vehicle stop [failed and] led to a shootout on the N3 near the Marlboro off-ramp," he said.

One man was shot dead while two were arrested.

"The police also recovered two unlicensed firearms. The Mercedes ML which the suspects were using was reported hijacked in the Norwood area [in Johannesburg] in October.

"The suspects are likely to face charges of unlawful possession of firearms and ammunition, armed robbery, hijacking and murder."

Police said the recovered firearms would be sent to forensic experts to determine if they were used in other crimes.

"This is a significant breakthrough to our efforts to combat crimes in and around the OR Tambo International Airport, especially the crimes where people are being followed from the airport and robbed," Naidoo said.

In September, 36 Dutch tourists, most of them over the age of 60, were robbed on their way from the airport to their hotel in Fourways.

Naidoo said investigations were still under way, adding that the men were expected to appear in the Kempton Park Magistrate's Court today.

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