Cops: ‘Facebook Rapist’ Faked His Death to Escape from Prison

DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA - OCTOBER 12: (SOUTH AFRICA OUT): Detective Warrant Officer Shane Naidoo leads Thabo Bester aka the Facebook Rapist out of the holding cells at the Durban Magistrates Court on October 12, 2011 in Durban, South Africa. Bester is wanted for luring young women via Facebook under false …
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A manhunt is underway for a convicted rapist who South African authorities say faked his own death to escape from prison while serving a life sentence.

Officials believed Thabo Bester died in May after setting himself on fire while inside a privately run prison in Bloemfontein, according to an Aljazeera report published Monday.

However, law enforcement recently said DNA testing showed the remains found in his cell were not his, but belonged to another individual.

“A post-mortem conducted on the body that burnt beyond recognition in Cell 35 at Mangaung Correctional Centre, revealed that it was an adult male with blunt force trauma to his head. The post-mortem further revealed that there were no signs of smoke inhalation in the body,” South Africa’s Department of Correctional Services explained in a press release on Saturday.

A murder investigation has been opened and law enforcement is working to locate the fugitive. Authorities are also trying to understand how he faked his death, according to police spokeswoman Athlenda Mathe.

Known as the “Facebook Rapist,” Bester is accused of luring victims on the platform, then raping and robbing them.

One person was reportedly killed, and Bester was given a life sentence in 2012 for rape, robbery, and murder.

During that time, he was apparently running a scam business from prison, according to the Daily Maverick.

“Bester posed as the ‘chairman’ of 21st Century Media, a scam event and production company, which was made to look like a subsidiary of 21st Century Fox,” the outlet said.

Crime expert Chad Thomas told eNCA the case surrounding Bester reveals issues within the country’s prisons:

“[It] is not the first such occasion where their ethics are brought into question, and the way in which they conduct themselves are brought into question. There was a recent expose of syndicates operating from behind prison walls, targeting people in sextortion scams, in other forms of exploitation, impersonating police officers from behind bars, setting up profiles on social media, having monies paid into e-wallet.

So one needs to take into consideration that the gangs in South Africa are very organized. A lot of people have seen the movies of American gangs in the American prison system. What they don’t seem to understand is that some of the South African gangs are the oldest gangs in the world.

South Africans are outraged over the Bester case. For a long time, women’s rights groups have accused government officials of failing to do enough to combat violence against women in their communities.

“From October to December, police recorded more than 12,000 rapes across the country,” the Aljazeera article said.


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