State to oppose bail for 8 Nigerian men linked to online romance scam

The men were arrested in the Tableview area on Tuesday and appeared in the Cape Town Magistrates Court on Wednesday.

Picture: SAPS.

CAPE TOWN - The State will oppose bail for eight Nigerian men linked to an online romance scam.

They were arrested in the Tableview area on Tuesday and appeared in the Cape Town Magistrates Court on Wednesday.

The prosecution said the suspected fraudsters were part of a transnational organised crime syndicate, called the Black Axe, which thrives on acts of fraud.

The alleged conmen apparently wooed women via social media and online dating websites, making them believe they were in genuine romantic relationships, but in the end defrauding them of their money.

Hawks and Interpol investigators, who attended Wednesday’ court proceedings, said the suspects created fake online profiles and made-up stories to win their victim's sympathy.

The National Prosecuting Authority's Eric Ntabazalila said: “There are warrants of arrests in New Jersey and Texas. So, we will be opposing bail applications on Tuesday. One of the reasons is that we feel that they are a flight risk and some of them are in the country illegally.”

The State is collecting information on the accused's citizen status as well as forensic analysis on their electronic devices, ahead of a formal bail application on Tuesday.

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