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Five in court after German tourist disappears on Cape Town hiking trail

Five in court after German tourist disappears on Cape Town hiking trail
Missing German tourist Nick Frischke (22). (Photo: Supplied)

A 22-year-old German tourist went missing on Valentine’s Day while walking on the Hangberg Trail between Hout Bay and Sandy Bay. There has been no sign of Nick Frischke since.

Five suspects appeared briefly in the Wynberg Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday after they were discovered in possession of items belonging to missing German tourist Nick Frischke. Two suspects were arrested on 21 February and three on 23 February.

The suspects, all from the impoverished Hangberg community in Hout Bay, Igshaan Fisher, Jason Abrahams, Vanroy Petersen, Carlo Guetanin and Melvin Guetanin (family members) appeared on charges of robbery with aggravating circumstances.

Two suspects, according to reliable sources, are alleged gangsters, one of whom was recently released from prison. According to former ward councillor Dick Meter, unemployment is high in Hangberg and drugs are rampant, creating an environment for crime to thrive.

The disappearance of the young tourist came four months after 75-year-old German tourist Jörg Schnarr was fatally shot, allegedly by a group of criminals, on Numbi Road near White River.

Another fatal incident involving a tourist was that of Ukrainian hiker Ivan Ivanov, (43), who was murdered in July 2019 while hiking at East Fort above Chapman’s Peak Drive. His death elicited widespread local and international condemnation.

Police spokesperson Warrant Officer Joseph Swartbooi confirmed that Frischke arrived in South Africa on Monday, 6 February. It was reported that he was a resident at an Airbnb in Pinelands.

On 14 February at around 10am, he left the Airbnb and never returned. He was spotted at a store in the V&A Waterfront and was last seen in Hout Bay where he was dropped off by an e-hailing service. He vanished on the Hangberg Trail between Hout Bay and Sandy Bay.

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A search team composed of the Hout Bay National Sea Rescue Institute, the Western Cape Government Emergency Medical Services, the Police K9 search and rescue team and Wilderness Search and Rescue scoured the area, but found nothing.

Frischke’s brother wrote on Facebook: “I’m still in Brandenberg and not in South Africa as well as the whole family. As long as he is not found, he lives. You should only give up hope when hope is lost and you have certainty.”

A vigil organised by hikers from a Hout Bay hiking club will be held at 7.30pm on Wednesday night at the Mariner’s Wharf parking lot on Hout Bay Beach.

On Tuesday, one of the hikers, Marianne Nohd, told Daily Maverick: “No matter if they find his body or not, we are still going ahead with the vigil. Walking alone on the hiking trails is dangerous.

“Whenever we walk and come across a person walking alone we warn him/her about the dangers and walk with that person until he/she is safe. What happened to the German tourist could have happened to any of us. We remain optimistic and hopeful that he will be found.”

Before the court appearance of the five suspects on Tuesday morning, the Hout Bay Community Policing Forum (CPF) issued a statement that Frischke’s backpack and a cellphone had been recovered, with a knife.

RTL News in Germany reported that one of the men arrested allegedly admitted to police that one of the accused had stabbed Frischke.

However, police spokesperson Colonel Andre Traut, said: “At this premature stage we will refrain from speculating about possible outcomes or disclosing information that is crucial for the investigation.”

Traut said an integrated search for Frischke was still under way.

Anyone with information is requested to contact investigating officer Detective-Sergeant Daluxolo Mhlauli on 076 609 0764 or alternatively to call Crime Stop on 08600 10111. DM

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Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Fanie Rajesh Ngabiso says:

    So terribly sad. So terribly destructive for South Africa and South Africans.

    Our useless government = no jobs; no accountability; no law enforcement = crime.

    People of South Africa, stop being taken in by lies. Connect the dots. Vote for change!

  • Gerrit Marais says:

    Wonder if Sisulu has taken note?

  • Rory Short says:

    The ANC is too busy plundering the country to be bothered with the possible disappearance of an overseas tourist.

  • virginia crawford says:

    It’s very sad! It seems that people are not informed about the dangers of hiking alone – not only from other people, but snake bite etc. Air BNB is great but for a young person to land in Pinelands with no reception desk or back packers to talk seems very risky to me. So much for the Queen Tottenham of Tourism that basic safety information is not readily accessible and everywhere.

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