Johannesburg: South African police are fuming over safety tips offered to World Cup tourists that recommends confronting attackers with bleach-filled water pistols.
Police say members of the public should avoid eye contact with attackers, move slowly and never argue. Violent crime is rife in many areas of South Africa, where there are about 20,000 murders, 50,000 rapes, and 15,000 car hijackings each year.
But Cape Town-based security firm Sport Security Management (SSM) told fans on an Indian website www.cricketnext.com that attack is often the best form of defence and advocated carrying a water pistol full of bleach to squirt into an attacker’s eyes.
“People must disregard this ridiculous and absurd advice from someone who has no mandate,” police spokesman Selby Bokaba said. “I mean, how do you fight a firearm with bleach'”
SSM’s director of information, Benedict Weaver, said the tips were applicable in circumstances where the attacker was not carrying a gun. “We do not promote a victim mentality. If you just hand over your belongings, you encourage people to be mugged,” Weaver was quoted as saying in a Johannesburg daily.
A British tourist was wounded and his wife killed by a gunman last October, after he had tried to disarm his attacker. As many as 30,000 tourists are expected in South Africa for the World Cup.
Players undergo dope tests
South Africa’s players, meanwhile, underwent drug tests Wednesday, adds a report from Cape Town. For the first time, drug tests will take place during the World Cup, with two players from both sides likely to be selected at random for tests after each match.
Coach Eric Simons said all the 15 players were tested. “It’s something that has been coming for about a year. The players have had lectures over the past few months and they have been given booklets setting out what substances are prohibited,” Simons said.