Monday, January 20, 2003

Barnie Louw

Massacre: Hatred or drugs

CAPE TOWN — Hate or drugs.

Gay groups say these are two of the possible motives that may have led to an attack in which eight sex workers were killed in Sea Point early on Monday morning.

The Lesbian and Gay Equality Project said early indications are that it may have been a hate attack.

"We are concerned that it was a hate crime aimed at gay men. We are very worried over threats made by several fringe groups over the past couple of months that showed intent to commit violent crimes against gay and lesbian people," the organisation said in a statement.

Evert Knoesen, spokesperson for the organisation, said these threats came from, among others, far-rightwing groups. But he admitted that it could have been a drug-related attack.

The organisation called on national and Western Cape police commissioners to appoint a special investigating team.

"People in the sex industry are particularly vulnerable because they fall outside the parameters of normal society. Often crimes against such people are not investigated properly."

A spokesperson for the Gay and Lesbian Alliance, Juan de Waal, said it was a "pure homophobic" attack. He said this attack coincided with the organisation's national congress, as was the case in 1999 with the bombing of the Blah Bar. He received death threats recently.

The Triangle Project, a gay and lesbian organisation in Cape Town, said it might have been a drug-related, rather than a homophobic attack.

"From discussions with staff at similar massage parlours, it seems as if drugs were the primary cause of the attacks," the organisation said in a statement.

A security expert, who wants to remain anonymous, said the attack was well organised. However, there are a number of possible motives for the attack, including a territorial war between two crime groups, revenge or extortion.

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Created: January 24, 2003
Last modified: January 24, 2003
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