Police probing claim robbers were dressed in officials’ uniforms, writes Gareth Wilson
A gang of robbers masquerading as police or traffic officials in uniform shot and hijacked a Port Elizabeth motorist yesterday morning.
Fei “Stephen” Xiong, 54, was shot twice in the leg during the hijacking before being shoved into his BMW and driven to his Montmedy Road home in Lorraine.
The incident happened at about 8.30am after Xiong had dropped his wife off at work at a supermarket on the corner of Spondo and Njoli streets in Zwide.
Police spokeswoman Colonel Priscilla Naidu said detectives were waiting for Xiong – who is in hospital – to be treated before they took a statement.
“Preliminary investigation confirms that he was pulled over by an unmarked vehicle. It is suspected that the three men were either wearing police or traffic official uniforms.
“They asked for Xiong’s driver’s licence, when they apparently pulled him out of the car and a scuffle ensued. During the incident he was shot twice in the leg and placed back into his car.”
Naidu said the robbers had then gone back to Xiong’s home and ransacked it.
“But what exactly is missing has yet to be determined.”
By midday a police forensic team was still at the house gathering evidence.
Soon afterwards the BMW was found abandoned in Ritchie Cres- cent in Kabega Park. “There is blood inside the car and the vehicle has been taken to the forensic unit for testing.”
Family friend and former work colleague Chen Zhi, 34 – who works with Xiong’s wife and who was at the Lorraine house yesterday – said: “It is very confusing at the moment but it appears he dropped his wife off at the shop and was hijacked by men in police uniform a short while later. They were driving a white Corolla and somehow managed to stop his BMW.”
A visibly shaken Zhi said that while he was inside the shop with Xiong’s wife, a customer had run inside to tell them Xiong had been hijacked.
“Three men pulled his BMW off the road. They were in police uniform and one was carrying a gun,” Zhi said.
“We are not sure what happened, but somehow they shot him in the leg twice and then pushed him back into his car.”
After hearing of the hijacking, Zhi tried to call Xiong. “When he did not answer we called the police. By that stage a neighbour [at their Montmedy Road home] had called his wife, saying that he [Xiong] was shot and lying in the driveway [of his house] screaming.”
Police, ambulances, security companies and Neighbourhood Watch groups responded to Xiong’s cries for help.
“We are not sure if anything is stolen from the house. I think they wanted the safe but I really do not know if they got it or managed to open it,” Zhi said.
Atlas Security’s Monty Montgomery said they had been called to the Lorraine house after a resident reported someone screaming.
“My team saw the man lying in the driveway covered in blood and screaming.
“The front gate was locked and we managed to lift it off the rails with the assistance of a Neighbourhood Watch member.
My response official began basic medical treatment by trying to stop the bleeding.
“The ambulance arrived a short while later and took him to hospital.”
Lorraine Neighbourhood Watch chairman Peter Graham said: “Shortly after being alerted, we deployed members to scout the area for the car. When we could not find it, we then came to the house. He [Xiong] was lying in the driveway bleeding.”
Graham said in an effort to locate the suspects a picture of the hijacked BMW had been sent to several Neighbourhood Watch groups across the Bay. A case of attempted murder, hijacking and robbery is under investigation.