Sports News

Photographer held at gunpoint as media hotel raided

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MAGALIESBURG, South Africa (Reuters) - A World Cup photographer was held at gunpoint Wednesday during a pre-dawn burglary at a lodge used by journalists covering Portugal and Spain, raising concerns about security in the host country.

The two robbers brandishing at least one handgun made their way undetected through two rooms where journalists were sleeping before rousing a Portuguese photographer in a third room, police and victims said.

Antonio Simoes, the photographer, was awakened by the burglars and held at gunpoint for a few minutes while they made off with his camera, cash and credit cards.

“It was just two minutes but it felt like two hours. It was the scariest thing that has ever happened to me,” he said.

The thieves, still at large, also made off with laptops, mobile phones, and cash from the other victims.

Spain and Portugal have been training in Magaliesburg, a sleepy, scenic town about an hour north of Johannesburg.

“We don’t have any suspects at this stage,” said police spokesman Leon Engelbrecht.

Several photographers covering the World Cup have also reported equipment being stolen from their baggage upon arrival at O.R. Tambo Airport, the main gateway to Johannesburg.

Writing by Jon Herskovitz, Editing by Nigel Hunt