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Caution urged after mugging on mountain

VISITORS hiking on the Peninsula mountains are warned to be cautious.

In a recent mountain mugging incident, Richard Case, who is an experienced mountain climber, and his friends were held at knifepoint while walking along Peers Hill, near Silvermine, along Ou Kaapseweg.

Case, 31, who is originally from Cape Town but has been living in Germany, came home for the holidays and decided to go climbing on Monday

He said that around 5pm he and his girlfriend and two friends were walking along a narrow path back to his car in the parking area when they were ambushed by knife-wielding robbers.

The four friends had been on a five-hour climb near Peers Cave.

Case said that one of the men approached them unexpectedly and went straight for his pockets.

“But I pushed him back and then his friend came forward and swung a knife at me, and I stumbled backwards.”

The robbers made off with a backpack filled with climbing gear – ropes, harnesses and shoes.

“I think they wanted our cellphones,” he said.

The robbers threw the car keys in the bush before they fled.

“They may have been waiting for us for quite some time, because when we got back our car was the only one left there, so they may have known we were coming back,” he said.

His girlfriend had a backpack that contained their cellphones.

“My first reaction was to overpower them, but then they took out the knife… We probably would’ve done it if they didn’t have weapons,” he said.

Police at Fish Hoek police station said they were aware of the incident.

Paddy Gordon, head of operations at SA National Parks (SANParks), said Case’s mugging was the first they had heard of in a long time and that it had been a relatively quiet season so far.

The last reported attack occurred on November 19 when a hiker fell off a ledge, broke a leg and bruised his ribs while running away from three muggers armed with a knife on the Karbonkel Mountain in Hout Bay. They caught up with him and stole his belongings.

Gordon said they had increased mountain patrols and that the visible patrols were effective.

A major concern, however, was still the number of “walk downs” rescuers had to conduct.

“We have far more incidents where people get stuck on the mountain in places they are not familiar or comfortable with.”

Gordon said SANParks had been distributing safety information pamphlets to visitors.

He encouraged people to store emergency numbers on their cellphones.

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