Sports stars have been warned to stop showing ‘bling’ on social media after Amir Khan was robbed at gunpoint
Top athletes have been warned by security chiefs to finally stop showing ‘bling’ on social media after former boxing champion Amir Khan had his watch stolen at the threat of a weapon.
Khan revealed on Monday night how he and his wife Faryal Makhdoom were targeted while the couple were outside a restaurant in east London. He described how a gun was pointed in his face as two assailants threatened him and his wife before demanding his valuable Franck Muller Vanguard chronograph. The attackers then sped off in a car in Leyton around 9.15pm. “I crossed the road with Faryal – luckily she was [a] few paces behind me,” Khan tweeted. “2 men ran towards me, he asked for my watch while having a gun pointed at my face. The main thing is that we are both safe.”
Hours before the attack outside the Sahara Grill, Khan was photographed by a member of the public on Instagram shopping in Oxford Street while wearing the diamond-encrusted watch, which was reportedly ripped off.
The incident comes two years after the 2004 Olympics silver medalist was criticized for taking to social media to show around a £100,000 Richard Mille 32 designer watch he bought. His online post carried the caption: “Not every day, I treat myself.”
Alex Bomberg, whose company Intelligent Protection keeps athletes and celebrities safe, said athletes now need to “activate” the potential link between “faking it” and targeted attacks.
“With our clients, we always educate them about what they put on social media as well as the kids,” Bomberg told Telegraph Sport. “It could have gone very badly, very easily for Khan, especially with his wife there as well. I always say these types of incidents are preventable. He should always think about his personal safety, where he is, what what he has on his wrist and what he posted on social media.”
Athletes have become regular targets for criminal gangs in recent years. Last month Jesse Lingard became the latest footballer to be attacked as thieves rushed into his home – while he was playing – to take £100,000 worth of clothes and jewellery. Other top sports figures targeted in recent years include Dele Alli in May 2020.
Khan, meanwhile, wore his watch to a charity event for his foundation at the Grosvenor House hotel in Park Lane on Friday. The Metropolitan Police said in a statement: ‘Police were called at 9.15pm on Monday April 18 to High Road, Leyton. A man in his thirties was reportedly approached by two men who threatened him with a gun before stealing his watch and fleeing. No gunshots were reported or any injuries.
“The police responded and carried out an area search. At this very early stage, there were no arrests. An investigation has been opened and the police are following up on a number of inquiries.
Faryal and Khan have been married since 2013 and have three children together. It’s not the first time the Bolton-born fighter has been subjected to such a terrifying ordeal. In 2018 he revealed how he had to fight off an armed gang trying to steal his £100,000 Range Rover six years earlier.
“It was really scary because I knew my life was at stake,” he said at the time. “When you’re in a situation like this, you have to react quickly or you’re going to get hurt. There were about 20 guys, all with metal bars.”
The former WBA and IBF light welterweight champion was beaten by fellow Briton Kell Brook via sixth-round stoppage in Manchester in February.