Loerie Guest Farm suffers attack

Loerie Guest Farm.
Loerie Guest Farm.

HAZYVIEW – The town is under siege and the community is deeply divided between bringing the crime crises out in the open or hiding it for fear of losing valuable tourists. A brief respite from this untenable situation was achieved when a task force of 100 police officials were deployed in the area. Numerous successful anti-crime operations were undertaken resulting in the arrest of several dangerous criminals and two alleged rapists. Yet within days of the withdrawal of a large portion of the force, the criminals were operating again, but this time with increased frequency.

This past week bore testimony to this with no less than three lodges being attacked. Probably the most frightening was the attack on two Hungarian tourists staying at Loerie Guest Farm. The foreigners were assaulted by three gun-wielding criminals in their chalet on Friday at approximately 03:30. They tried to rob the visitors of their valuables and what ensued was nothing short of a nightmare from hell.

Mr Abrie Visser, owner of Loerie Guest Farm, heard the screams, grabbed his gun and went to their rescue. He fired warning shots when he spotted the thieves outside their unit. They returned fire and ran away. The tourists were unharmed but severely traumatised by the event.

Visser contacted the media and requested that the incident be publicised. “It is time that we stop hiding what is happening in Hazyview,” he said. “The crime has to be addressed. Keeping quiet about it and trying to hide it will not solve the ongoing situation in our town!” Lowvelder interviewed the Hungarians who chose to remain anonymous. During the conversation, which was recorded, they related a frightening experience. “I had gone to the restroom at about 03:15 and returned to bed,” said the man. “Shortly thereafter I heard strange noises. At first, I thought it was baboons or monkeys but soon realised that the sounds were coming from different directions. I went to check if the front door was closed and if the alarm was on. When checking the alarm, I realised that it was not working and at the same time knew that there was someone outside the chalet. I could see someone shining a torch through the gap between the door and its frame. It was then that I realised we were in trouble.

“Suddenly the thugs started pushing a metal bar between the door and the frame trying to break the lock. We started screaming for help in both English and Hungarian. I grabbed a cellphone and dialled 122. There was no connection through to the emergency number and I pretended that I was speaking to the police in the hope that this would scare off the robbers.

“Another criminal had by then managed to force the door open to about a 40cm gap. My girlfriend grabbed a knife from the kitchenette and started stabbing at the thief’s arms as he was trying to push the door open wider.

“I was behind it pushing against him to prevent the door from opening further. Then my girlfriend and I dragged a heavy, wooden cupboard in front of the door. Throughout the attack the robbers remained silent. It was like being in a horror movie,

one which I would be too scared to go and see.

“Then another criminal smashed the bathroom window and started climbing through it. I asked him several times what he wanted. I was prepared to give him cellphones, money, cameras, whatever he wanted just to protect ourselves.

“The thug replied, ‘to shoot you’! Then another started breaking a window at the front of the chalet.

“We were fighting for our lives. We heard shots from outside and that was when

Mr Visser came to our rescue.”

The couple were part of a group of

25 Hungarian nationals which included a former vice-chancellor of Pesc University in Hungary. They had been touring the country and had visited Cape Town,

the Drakensberg,

St Lucia and the Kruger National Park.

“We had a stunning 12 days in your country,” continued the Hungarian, “but this attack has ruined the whole experience for us. I have never been assaulted before in my life. What do I say when I go home? If I tell anyone in my country that I was personally attacked on a farmstead, they will surely not come to South Africa. If I report this to the Hungarian ambassador, your country will be listed as a dangerous place to visit.” The couple cut their holiday short and returned home.

The following morning, Visser’s wife, Maretha, noticed two suspicious men walking in the orchard on the farm. She asked them why they were there and received no response. She then fired warning shots and they fled. This incident was broadcast on the farmer’s radio network which resulted in 20 to 30 farmers launching an operation to track down the suspicious men. Hi-Tech Security also offered its assistance. The search was fruitless.

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