S.Africa convicts Czech fugitive crime boss

24th August 2015, Comments 0 comments

A South African court Monday convicted a notorious Czech national, Radovan Krejcir, of kidnapping and attempted murder, after a trial that exposed the country's underworld dealings.

The charges related to the kidnapping and 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.

According to a News 24 report, Judge Colin Lamont said he accepted Lukhele's evidence that he was assaulted by Krejcir.

The Czech, who pleaded not guilty, faces a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison for attempted murder. Sentencing arguments were due to begin Tuesday.

Krejcir has been seen as a kingpin in Johannesburg's organised crime scene, with a number of people associated with him having been killed in recent years.

He still faces three other criminal charges, including one of murdering a Lebanese national, according to local media reports.

In 2013, Krejcir escaped an attempt on his life when a machinegun-rigged car fired at him as he entered his business premises, which are near a large shopping mall.

The car burst into flames.

Prior to his arrest, the shadowy Czech 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.

© 2015 AFP

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