Seven arrested after kidnap of student lured on Grindr

Stock image of the Grindr app logo on a phone

Police in South Africa have arrested seven suspects after they reportedly lured an 18-year-old student on dating app Grindr and kidnapped him. 

Police in Gauteng province arrested seven men who allegedly kidnapped the University of Witwatersrand student after luring him on Grindr, before demanding a ransom from his family. 

The student was reported missing by his roommate on 19 September, the same day he was kidnapped, the South African Police Service said in a statement

Police explained that the student “was lured to the suspects through a dating site called Grindr”, then the suspects reportedly demanded R30,000 (around £1,300) from the victim’s family for his safe return. 

Police arrested the first suspect on 20 September, with the suspect leading the team to a hostel in Johannesburg where the 18-year-old victim was found “bound and unconscious”. 

Police explained that in total, the team “arrested seven suspects and recovered three knives and the student’s personal items”.

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“The victim was rushed to hospital for medical attention,” police added.

“All seven will be charged with kidnapping and extortion and they will be appearing before court soon.”

The police said that they are currently investigating the possibility of linking the suspects to similar cases in the area.

In 2022, South African police issued a warning to Grindr users after a string of attacks using the app.

Lerato Phalakatshela from LGBTQ+ organisation OUT told News 24 at the time: “We’ve heard about the Grindr scams, and there has been an increase in these stories in the last few months where scammers lure gay or bisexual men and then take their belongings, sometimes their bank cards are taken and their money withdrawn or their cars are stolen.

“It has been happening beyond this year, in fact for a while now ever since Grindr was introduced to South Africa, but the scale of how big these crimes are becoming is alarming.”