A restaurant owner who choked an attempted child snatcher into submission said he doesn’t consider himself a hero.
Dishal Sooku grappled with the man after he jumped the railings at his Bella Napoli Italian Kitchen, in Johannesburg, Gauteng, before attempting to grab a young diner.
The South African businessman and martial artist became an overnight sensation after CCTV footage of him thwarting the apparent kidnap attempt last Thursday went viral.
“I don’t consider myself a hero, I just happened to be in the right place at the right time,” Mr Sooku told news24.
He said his years studying Karate, Kick-boxing and Jiu Jitsu meant his instinct was to “control the perpetrator” so the child, aged 4, could be taken to safety.
“The only thing that was going through my mind was ‘I need to save this little girl’.
“All I could think about was protecting her and saving her.”
Mr Sooku explained the move he used is called a rear naked choke, adding the video shows the attacker is “almost dazed out”.
“It’s a technique that would allow you to escape in a situation, and let the child be free.”
He said he was able to meet the child on Tuesday and she “seems fine”.
“I just wish her all the best. I’m glad I could have done what I did,” he added.
In the video, the girl is sitting at a table with two women on the pizza restaurant’s patio when the stranger rushes towards her and grabs her by the neck.
As one of the women tries to pull the girl to safety, Mr Sooku appears and puts the man into a hold while he still has his hands on the child.
He is wrestled to the floor and smashed in the face by one of the women, with security officers arriving to detain him within moments.
The man, who was left bloodied with facial injuries, had no connection to the girl or her family, according to police in the Johannesburg suburb of Florida.
A witness previously told the Roodeport Record the man was “walking along the street banging on cars” prior to leaping over the restaurant railings.
“It didn’t look like he was trying to take her, he was really trying to hurt her.
“His eyes were dead,” they added.
Naseem Slamang, 24, was charged with assault to cause grievous bodily harm, attempted kidnapping and common assault.
He has remained in custody and is set to appear in court again today (September 17).