Police arrest Namibians, Chinese in scam targeting Americans

HOUSE OF CARDS … The house in Auasblick where some of the Namibians and Chinese nationals were arrested over fraud in Windhoek. Photo: Contributed

A syndicate of Namibians and Chinese nationals who are accused of defrauding Americans and Europeans were among a number of people arrested in Windhoek this week.

Senior police officers yesterday confirmed to The Namibian that at least 88 Namibians, three Chinese nationals and other foreign nationals were arrested on Wednesday afternoon.

The arrests were said to have started on Wednesday afternoon, followed by more in Klein Windhoek and Auasblick yesterday.

Khomas police regional commander commissioner Willem Steenkamp this week said he was not aware of arrests made at a certain house in Auasblick.

“We received complaints of noise pollution and a lot of people in that one house,” he said.

Steenkamp said the police inspected the house on Wednesday and yesterday to investigate.

“Yesterday we found some people there, but we want to have health experts on board to see whether everything is fine,” he said.

Police sources, however, contradicted the regional commander, and told The Namibian arrests were made at the involved house in connection with the elaborate internet scam.

The sources said they believe the alleged international syndicate was led by Chinese nationals in Namibia.

About 20 people were in police custody by yesterday afternoon, and an operation to apprehend an unknown number was still ongoing by yesterday afternoon.

The police were still searching and blocking a number of houses in Windhoek.

They are expected to make a public announcement today, with the suspects also expected to appear in court today.

By yesterday, the police forensic science laboratories were trying to ascertain how much money was involved in the scam.

The involvement of Chinese nationals in the scam further fuels opposition to the government’s intention to allow Chinese nationals to enter Namibia without visa requirements for 30 days.

The proposal by the Ministry of Home Affairs, Immigration and Safety and Security has been heavily criticised, despite minister Albert Kawana saying this would boost Chinese tourism in Namibia.

In 2018, some Namibians were linked to a case of kidnapping, extortion, armed robbery and targeting people selling their goods online in Johannesburg.

Media reports at the time said the scheme had been in existence for five years and tricked online car sellers with an elaborate scam.

The police could yesterday not provide more information on the alleged scam.

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