The Sunday Independent has reported that the investigation into the secret spy gadget used to intercept mobile communications revealed the involvement of a cigarette gang and senior police officials.
According to the report, the cigarette gang’s aim with the spy gadget was to gather intelligence about rival gangs, and eliminate them through police intervention.
The cigarette smuggling gang essentially wanted police permission to destroy rival gangs, and run a police-supported cigarette smuggling operation.
This follows recent reports that the Hawks arrested two men and confiscated a machine nicknamed The Grabber, which is used for spying on cellphone users.
The Israeli-produced machine was installed in a Mercedes Benz Viano when the Hawks bust its operators.
The Grabber is used for cellphone tapping, cellphone tracking, and as a cellular locator, and is reportedly worth over R25 million.
The Star reported that the machine “had been used to advance certain parties in commercial transactions”.
This type of equipment is highly regulated in South Africa, and can only be purchased with presidential authority.
The full report is available in The Sunday Independent of 30 August 2015.