S.Africa sentences Czech criminal kingpin to 35 years

23rd February 2016, Comments 0 comments

A South African court on Tuesday sentenced a notorious Czech crime boss to 35 years behind bars for kidnapping and attempted murder.

The charges against Radovan Krejcir, widely seen as a kingpin in Johannesburg's organised crime scene, relate to the torture of a man in 2013, in what was described as a drug deal that went wrong.

Krejcir was accused of ordering the kidnapping of Bheki Lukhele, whose brother disappeared with a stash of crystal meth destined for Australia.

The South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg heard that Lukhele was assaulted and had boiling water poured over his head by Krejcir.

The torture was meant to force the man to reveal the whereabouts of his brother.

Krejcir pleaded not guilty to the charges, but after a trial that exposed South Africa's underworld dealings, he was found guilty last August.

In 2013, he escaped an attempt on his life when a car fitted with remote-control guns hidden behind its licence plates fired at him as he entered his business premises.

On Monday, the court was evacuated following a bomb threat -- but only after Krejcir, who was representing himself, accused Judge Colin Lamont of bias and conspiracy.

After Lamont handed down the 35-year jail sentence, Krejcir left the court in shackles but with a smile.

The Czech is expected to apply for leave to appeal the sentence, but he still faces three other criminal charges, including one of murdering a Lebanese national, according to local media reports.

Prior to his arrest, Krejcir had been fighting an attempt by South African authorities to have him extradited to the Czech Republic, where he is wanted for several crimes including tax fraud.

He claims the charges were trumped up because of his political links back home.


© 2016 AFP

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