Prinsloo trapped in 'dictatorship'

2009-06-15 07:25

Johannesburg – Armed with a bottle of gas spray, a knife and a toy pistol, South Africa’s most well-known alleged sex criminal apparently made a dash for the cashiers of a bank in Belarus.

Dirk Prinsloo was arrested by police two days after the attempted bank robbery in the former union of the old Soviet state.

They want to charge and prosecute him first, before they’ll start thinking about sending him home, said Sally de Beer, national police spokesperson on Sunday.

One of the cashiers at the bank in Baranowitsji, about 138km from the capitol, Minsk, was admitted to hospital with a concussion and “slight brain damage” after she was assaulted when she refused to hand over the money, the local newspaper Intex-Press reported on its website.

A client who was also assaulted, sustained head injuries when her head was banged against an ATM, says the report.

There was a sudden power cut when cashiers opened the bank again just after lunch last Wednesday - one of the women went to investigate.

A man with a knife in one hand and a pistol in the other, stormed into the bank. He screamed at the cashiers that he wanted money. They refused to hand over any money.

The attacker fled when one of the cashiers activated the alarm.

According to internet reports, this was the fourth bank robbery in Belarus this year, and the first in 50 years in Baranowitsji.

The local police are investigating the possibility that Prinsloo might be involved with other crimes, and that he had been living in Belarus illegally.

Identified by means of fingerprints

A balaclava, a toy pistol and a bottle of gas spray were found near the scene, according to the report. According to the newspaper, the man wearing the balaclava walked into the bank in Park street on Wednesday about 14:00.

Prinsloo, a former advocate from Pretoria, fled the country in May 2006 and didn’t face charges along with Cézanne Visser, his co-accused. The charges include fraud, indecent assault, rape, sexual deeds with children and the possession and production of child pornography.

He had his South African passport on him when he was arrested, De Beer said.

Prinsloo, who was also identified by means of fingerprints, spent the weekend in a police cell in Belarus – a country which is described as Europe’s “last dictatorship”.

Tlali Tlali, spokesperson for the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), on Sunday said Menzi Simelane, director general of justice, will start the extradition process after consulting the police and the NPA.
 “We will take all legal measures we have at our disposal to ensure that he returns to face his charges.

South Africa has no extradition agreement with Belarus.