Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Crime Already Becoming A World Cup Theme

Just days before the World Cup, a Portuguese photographer was held up at gunpoint and two other journalists also were robbed at the same World Cup hotel.

Antonio Simoes said he woke up around 4 a.m. and found two men entering his room at the Nutbush Boma Lodge outside of Magaliesburg, 75 miles northwest of Johannesburg.  "One of the guys pointed a hand gun at my head, and then they took all my gear — cameras, lenses, laptop," said Simoes, who works for the Portuguese daily O Jogo. "Then they told me to lie on the bed and they covered me with a blanket, pressed the gun against my head and told me to sleep.

Spanish journalist Miguel Serrano (who works for the Spanish sports newspaper Marca) and Rui Gustavo Morais were also robbed, but they slept through it. The three were staying in a detached four-room lodge that looks out over the Magaliesburg Mountains.  Serrano said the thieves made off with his computer, three cell phones, passport, more than $5,000 in cash and all of his clothes. He was left with a long-sleeve black T-shirt and jeans.

About 20 journalists covering the Portugal team are staying at the Nutbush, and they had previously raised concerns about hotel safety.  "We had already complained to the Portuguese federation that the security left a lot to be desired," Serrano said, "but we never thought that something like this would happen."

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