September 25, 2015

#ATTACK: A teacher, Jean-Paul Baron (38) jumps into icy sea at Muizenberg to escape armed black youths

The three ran towards him and pulled out large knives...

"I realised I wasn't going to get anywhere and turned into the sea after a few metres. I would rather take my chances with the water and with the sharks"

Cape Town –A man chased by armed black youths on Muizenberg beach escaped after jumping into the icy ocean.
Jean-Paul Baron, a 38-year-old teacher, had been taking a leisurely stroll along a quieter stretch of the beach on Thursday afternoon.
Three black boys, who looked to be between 12 and 15 years old, ran towards him and pulled out large knives.
Baron ran in the opposite direction, but they were quicker.
"I realised I wasn't going to get anywhere and turned into the sea after a few metres. I would rather take my chances with the water and with the sharks," he told News24 on Friday.
The boys followed him along the shore as he made his way towards a more populated area, wading in knee-deep water.
"After a short while, one of them took off his clothes until... just [his] underwear [remained] before he got into the water with his knife. I went further out to waist deep... water. I think he was afraid of the water."
Baron had his bag with a camera and other belongings slung around his shoulder.
The boys signalled for him to get out.
"I continued walking like that for half a kilometre or even a kilometre. There was nobody to scream to. Eventually they gave up following me and I got out the water when they were a safe distance away. I was in shock and could hardly breathe."
Baron, coughing as he spoke, said he had only recently returned to the country and was house-sitting in Muizenberg.
Beach attacks happen regularly
He had thought it a bid odd when he saw the three walking along the dunes and had just decided to turn back when they attacked him.
Muizenberg Community Police Forum chairperson Frank Bokhorst said attacks on the beach happened regularly.
"I attend weekly crime meetings and it is regarded as a hotspot. It is very disturbing," he said on Friday.
Police patrolled the beach but the dunes presented a challenge.
"The nature of the situation is that a person can escape into the dunes in a few seconds. A robbery can occur within 30 seconds."
Bokhorst said a group of youth did seem to be the perpetrators in most instances, and were believed to come from nearby Capricorn.
He believed officers on quad bikes and signposts warning beach goers might help.
However it was also the public's responsibility to walk in groups and not be careless with their belongings, he added.
Western Cape police said they were not at liberty to disclose the number of incidents along that stretch of beach.