Possible drug link in suspicious kidnap case


Reporter – Gasant Abarder

POLICE are investigating a 20-year-old Maitland woman, who claimed she was kidnapped from a city hotel, for bringing a substantial amount of foreign currency into the country without declaring it. Investigators are also probing a possible drug link after she declined to lay charges against her alleged abductors. What puzzled police was that Leahanda von Greunen laid no charges against her abductors and claimed to weekend newspapers that she was a Dutch tourist who was packpacking in South Africa. Police are now investigating a possible drug link, according to police spokesperson Jacques Wiese. “This is the way drug dealers usually operate. If they find themselves in a spot of trouble they do not want to lay charges with the police.” On further investigation, the police found that Von Greunen is a South African citizen with dual SA-Netherlands citizenship and a Dutch passport. Von Greunen entered South Africa from Mauritius with about US$12000 that was not endorsed on her passport. Wiese said that if Von Greunen could not provide valid reasons for possession of the dollars, the money would be forfeited to the state and she could face charges. He said a team of investigators from the South African Reserve Bank were co-operating with police in the case. Von Greunen claimed she was kidnapped from the reception area of the Tulip Inn in Strant Street shortly after she arrived in the city from Mauritius on Thursday. She claimed her abductors then drove her to Langa she was burnt with cigarettes, beaten, kicked, scratched with a nail and locked in a shack. Her Tanzanian boyfriend, Zaki Nazzir, 25 – who she claimed was a Saudi Arabian citizen – followed the abductors’ vehicle and was also attached and locked in a seperate shack. The couple were picked up by Langa police after residents found them. No arrests were made. Wiese, however, said witnesses had seen her leaving the hotel with the men in an amicable fashion. He said there was further compelling evidence to suggest there could be a drug link which could not be disclosed at this stage. Police are also baffled as to why Von Greunen had booked into a hotel when it is known that she lived with Nazzir in Maitland. Director Johan Klein, acting area commissioner of the West Metropole, said because Von Greunen was a South African citizen it did not mean that her kidnapping would be seen as less serious. “Even though no further investigation was requested by the victim, we regard the matter in a serious light and will be investigating the matter to the full extent of the law.” “The circumstances under which she was kidnapped from the hotel in Cape Town are currently under investigation. We have obtained sensitive information (about) the incident which cannot be disclosed at this stage,” Klein said. He said that Von Greunen had misled weekend newspapers, and that these inaccurate reports had done a lot of harm to the image of Cape Town’s tourism industry.

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