A man in Soweto has become the latest victim of criminals who target queer individuals on dating apps like Grindr.
News24 reports that 23-year-old Tsietsi Cetele was beaten and robbed on Saturday after making a date to meet someone he interacted with on Grindr.
He arranged to meet the man at the Jabulani Shell Garage in Soweto. Once there, the man asked to take a walk.
As they walked along, Cetele was ambushed from behind by two men at gunpoint. They dragged him into a bush where they assaulted him and robbed him of his belongings.
“They started beating me, and it was terrible. They asked me to open my phone and wanted to go into my bank account, and they started hitting me again,” he told the news site.
The men ran off after someone nearby heard the commotion. Cetele has reported the case to the police, and a case of robbery with a firearm has been opened.
For several years, numerous queer men, primarily in Johannesburg but also Cape Town, have been lured via dating apps to locations to meet other men where they are typically beaten, threatened, and robbed. They are often held hostage while criminals empty their bank accounts through the victim’s banking apps.
In February, after a spike in incidents, police announced the arrest of four suspects in connection with one incident in Johannesburg. It was hoped that this would finally bring the so-called Grindr Gang dating attacks to an end.
It’s since become clear, however, that other criminals are continuing to target gay, bisexual, and queer men.
In March, we reported a traumatic incident in which a 24-year-old victim was beaten, abused, and threatened with castration if he didn’t give his attackers access to his bank account. He feared being raped or killed but was finally let go after the men stole R28,000 from him.
After a call for victims to come forward earlier this year, OUT LGBT Well-being received 13 reports of cases that occurred between June 2022 and February 2023 in Johannesburg and Ekurhuleni, including Sandton, Randburg, Fourways, Tembisa, Soweto, and Lenasia.
It’s believed that many Grindr gang cases go unreported due to stigma and shame around the use of dating apps, and because some victims may be in the closet.
The LGBTIQ+ community is warned to remain extremely cautious when using dating apps.
What you can do:
- If you are a victim of the Grindr Gang and would like confidential and non-judgmental LGBTQ support and advice, email OUT LGBT Well-being which can assist with legal and other advice and counselling.
- To read Mamba’s online dating and hook-up safety tips, click here
- To read Grindr’s safety and privacy guidelines, click here