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Monday, 28 January 2008

South African Casino Gang attacking casinos

In a daring strike during the early Sunday morning hours, armed robbers raided the Boardwalk Casino in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. While the casino was passing through a relatively slow time of both the day and week, a large group of between ten to fourteen men carrying pistols and rifles entered through the casino's main entrance.
The Casino Gang then overpowered security guards on the premises and made their way to the cashier's cage, which they ransacked, stealing an undisclosed amount of cash.
The Boardwalk Robbery Plan was followed by casino employees during the episode. This meant remaining calm and cooperating with the gang so as to avoid harm to gamblers and staff, while an alarm that silently notified police and security forces was activated.
Police arrived as the armed gang were fleeing the casino. Gunshots were fired, although there are conflicting reports as to whether the shots were fired by police or robbers. No injuries were inflicted, and the thieves escaped in a waiting vehicle.
There has been a pattern of armed gangs attacking casinos in South Africa over the last few months, and the similarities are too strong to not believe the acts are being committed by the same organization. In August, six men armed with AK-47s robbed the Newcastle Casino in Johannesburg on a Sunday evening. In early October, the Carnival City Casino was taken down by fifteen armed men on Sunday just past midnight. In late October, an attempt to rob Montecasino, also in Johanesburg, by ten men was thwarted as five were captured and the rest escaped emptyhanded.
Although Mervyn Naidoo, general manager of the Boardwalk, asserted the amount of money stolen was "relatively small" and no players or employees were hurt, the ongoing cycle leaves one wondering if South Africa can maintain the safety of its casinos. For now, at least, perhaps Sunday is a good day to find other entertainment than casino action.


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