Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Carjackers Use Acid-Filled Syringes


The Times [South Africa]
10 June 2008

Quandary over acid hijackings
No trace of victim named in e-mail warning

Borrie la Grange

A hoax e-mail might have tricked KwaZulu-Natal police into warning already edgy motorists about hijackers wielding syringes filled with swimming-pool acid.

Police on the South Coast issued the warning yesterday after the police's crime intelligence section got wind of the new modus operandi.

Superintendent Zandra Wiid, a police spokeswoman, referred to "a recent case in Rivonia", Johannesburg, in which a well-dressed man approached a motorist at a traffic light "informing him that he wanted his car. He used a syringe and sprayed pool acid in the victim's face."

Wiid said the KwaZulu-Natal crime intelligence section had received a fax from "headquarters in Pretoria", warning it about the use of acid-filled syringes by hijackers .

The warning is, however, similar to a hoax e-mail widely circulated in 2006, which identified an acid-attack victim, accosted at a traffic light in Rivonia, as a Discovery Health employee, Gavin Osmond. But Discovery said yesterday it had no record of an employee of that name.

Gauteng police said no acid hijackings had been reported.