German tourist tortured and murdered in South Africa after kindly picking up hitchhiker

South Africa is one of the most dangerous countries in the world, but naive German tourists keep coming back

editor: REMIX NEWS
author: John Cody
South African police officers face a rising crime crisis, with murders reaching new records year after year. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)

Picking up hitchhikers in what is considered one of the most dangerous countries in the world is generally not seen as a sound idea, but Europeans often visit countries with skewed perceptions.

Three South Africans murdered a German tourist over the weekend after the 74-year-old man picked up a hitchhiker in an act of kindness that ended in tragedy.

The man, who was returning to South Africa from Botswana, picked up one of the suspects in northern South Africa on Saturday morning. The men made a stopover at an alcohol shop in Pilanesberg National Park, where the hitchhiker reportedly informed his accomplices about the fact that he was riding with the German man.

They eventually drove to the hitchhiker’s home, where the suspect along with two other accomplices attacked the German. They tied up their victim and began to physically beat him, with the prosecutor presenting the theory that they were trying to get the man to tell them the PIN code for his credit card. The police state that the man was killed at the residence.

They robbed the victim of cash and valuables and then dumped his body in a bush; however, they were arrested by police shortly afterward and the body was also discovered.

German tourists often end up victims in South Africa

Germans often travel to South Africa, with several stories in recent years showcasing how dangerous it can be. Last year, 22-year-old German citizen Nick Frischke from Cottbus disappeared without a trace in Cape Town, with five suspects later arrested and charged with robbery after a number of the man’s possessions were found on the suspects, including the man’s credit card. The man remains missing, but police believe he was murdered.

Also in December of last year, German news outlet T-Online reported on a wave of attacks on tourist buses in the vicinity of the Sun City resort. In one case, masked men fired shots at a bus filled with German tourists, managed to stop it, and then raided the bus and robbed the passengers of their jewelry and cash.

In September 2022, German citizen Jörg Schnarr was shot by armed men while traveling to Kruger National Park.

South Africa has an astronomically high crime rate, and many tourists who come to the country attempt to travel within confined areas, offering them a sanitized picture of the country. However, violence and robberies can strike anywhere, and tourists from Europe are often seen as prime targets.

In 2023, the country saw record numbers for murders and rapes, with 75 murders and 153 rapes every day. That is 27,375 murders in just one year and over 55,000 rapes. Authorities acknowledge that many murders and rapes go unrecorded in the lawless country, which means those numbers are an underestimate.

Under Black rule, the country has reached new levels of lawlessness, with security now outsourced to private contractors. Even copper in the country’s electrical grid is not safe from thieves, leading to widespread blackouts — another dismal factor slamming the country’s already sinking economy.

What was supposed to be a multicultural oasis now features “One of the largest security industries in the world,” according to NPR.

“There are more than 2.7 million registered private security officers in the country, according to the Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority,” the news outlet reported this year.

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