Mass Arrest in Sandton: Police Bust Counterfeit SIM Card Operation

Mass Arrest in Sandton: Police Bust Counterfeit SIM Card Operation

  • On June 14, 2024, police in Sandton arrested over forty suspected illegal immigrants and two South Africans involved in manufacturing counterfeit SIM cards
  • Thousands of fake SIM cards and numerous computers were seized from a house
  • The suspects face charges under the Cyber Crime Act, Fraud, and illegal immigration, with further arrests possible as investigations continue

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Reitumetse Makwea, a Briefly News current affairs journalist in Pretoria, South Africa, has covered local elections, policy changes, the State of the Nation Address and political news at The Citizen and Rekord Noweto for over five years.

Thousands of counterfeit sim cards found in Sadnton
More than forty suspected illegal immigrants were arrested as police recovered thousands of counterfeit SIM cards that were manufactured in the backroom of a house in Sandton. Images: Supplied.
Source: UGC

More than 40 suspects are expected to appear in court next week, where the extent of their involvement in the counterfeit SIM card scheme will be further examined.

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The Gauteng Organised Crime Investigation Unit on Friday arrested suspected illegal immigrants in a raid on a house in Sandton allegedly involved in the production of counterfeit SIM cards.

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Acting on a tip-off, the unit operationalised the intelligence and swiftly descended on the suburban property.

Upon arrival, officers discovered a sophisticated operation, detaining forty-three suspected illegal immigrants aged between 17 and 36 years.

The suspects were found inside the house, which served as a hub for the illicit activity.

Thousands of counterfeit SIM cards

In a statement, Lieutenant Colonel Mavela Masondo said the police conducted a thorough search of the premises, which led them to a garage and a backroom.

"The police then uncovered thousands of SIM cards from all South African mobile networks and many computers."

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The discovery points to a highly organised counterfeit SIM card manufacturing operation.

Sim cards meant for cybercrime and fraud

Technicians from several mobile network providers were brought in to assess the seized items.

They confirmed that the SIM cards were indeed imitations, likely intended for fraudulent activities and cybercrimes.

In total, forty-three suspected illegal immigrants and two South African nationals were arrested at the scene.

They are now facing multiple charges, including the Contravention of the Cyber Crime Act, Fraud, and illegal immigration.

Police are still looking for more suspects

A Gauteng Organised Crime Investigation Unit spokesperson indicated this might not end the arrests.

"We believe there could be more individuals involved in this operation. Our investigations are ongoing, and further arrests are likely."

The operation highlights the growing issue of cybercrime and the innovative methods criminals use to exploit digital vulnerabilities.

It also underscores the importance of vigilant law enforcement and the role of community intelligence in combating such crimes.

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Residents shocked by the mass arrest

Residents of Sandton have expressed shock at the discovery of such a large-scale criminal operation in their midst and relief at the swift action taken by the authorities.

This case serves as a reminder of the ever-present need for vigilance in the digital age.

The police have urged anyone with additional information to come forward to assist in the ongoing investigation.

Congolese man arrested on charges of fraud and theft in Limpopo

Previously, Briefly News reported that a Congolese man was arrested for defrauding a female police officer in Limpopo.

The 44-year-old man was not working alone when he defrauded the 54-year-old woman; police are still looking for his accomplice.

South Africans blamed the victims and said women should not be so desperate and easily trusting.

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Source: Briefly News

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Reitumetse Makwea (Editor) Reitumetse Makwea is a Current Affairs journalist at Briefly News. She has a National diploma, Advanced diploma and Post-graduate diploma in Journalism from the Tshwane University of Technology. She first worked as a student journalist and freelancer for Caxton's Record Noweto and later joined The Citizen News, where she worked for a little over 3 years covering politics, environmental news, business, education, and health. Reitumetse joined Briefly News in 2024. Email: