Johannesburg: South Africa police say
Uruguayan football officials have declined to pursue a theft
case after allegations emerged that one of their own may have
Police spokesman Leon Engelbrecht said Sunday after
receiving a report that about USD 12,000 was missing from two
of the delegation`s Cape Town hotel rooms several hours before
Uruguay played France Friday, authorities reviewed hotel
surveillance camera footage.
"There`s a big possibility that a member of the Uruguayan
delegation was involved," Engelbrecht said.
He said when delegation members saw the footage, they
decided not to open a case.
Sebastian Bauza, president of the Uruguayan football
association, denied a delegation member was involved, saying
that pressing charges would take too much time and distract
from the World Cup.
In another incident on the same day, TV New Zealand`s
correspondent and cameraman were robbed of all their equipment
at the FIFA-approved Sparkling Waters hotel in Rustenburg,
foreign editor Max Hayton said. Thieves smashed their hotel
room door when the two were out to dinner, he said. The
estimated loss was USD 100,000.
There have been other robberies of World Cup travelers.
Three journalists - two from Portugal, one from Spain -
were robbed of money, camera equipment, laptop computers and
mobile phones last Wednesday in a town northwest of
Johannesburg. One of the journalists was robbed at gunpoint.
"It took police no more than 24 hours to arrest these
lunatic scoundrels," South Africa minister of police Nathi
Mthetwa said in a statement after three men - two from
Zimbabwe and one from Nigeria - were arrested in that case.
"It further took the justice department no more than 48 hours
to sentence them. Now this is what we have been echoing: that
we will act with swiftness on any criminality."
Two of the convicted were sentenced to 15 years
imprisonment for armed robbery, and the third to four years
for the possession of stolen property.
South Africa has one of the world`s highest rates of
violent crime, and the thefts were a reminder of the dangers
that face hundreds of thousands of fans coming to watch the
Authorities have set up 56 dedicated courts to deal
quickly with World Cup-related cases.
"No criminal, whether South African or foreign, will
terrorize law-abiding citizens or visitors during the 2010
FIFA World Cup and beyond, especially because this is a
festival of the beautiful game," Mthetwa said.