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NORTH WEST – Seventeen suspects aged between 20 and 40 were arrested by the Hawks’ Serious Organised Crime Investigation with the assistance of the National Intervention Unit and the District Illegal Mining Task Team during a disruptive operation on Friday in Orkney .

The police followed up on information about a consignment of food which was to be dropped off at a ventilation shaft by alleged kingpins and their assistants. When the suspects spotted the police, they allegedly started shooting .The team managed to apprehend 16 assistants and 1 kingpin. The rifleman fled into the shaft and could not be arrested.

The suspects were allegedly found in possession of approximately R14 800, illegal mining paraphernalia, approximately 3 tons of food and a Toyota LDV was seized at the shaft. Meanwhile, all the suspects are expected to make their first appearance before the Orkney District Court on 21 February 2021.

The Provincial Head of the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation – Major General Patrick Mbotho lauded the exceptional work by the multi-disciplinary team and warned that the police are going to continue cracking a whip on criminals in the Province.