Gangster found with lions, bears in home

2013-02-27 19:36
(Picture: AFP)

(Picture: AFP)

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Bucharest - Authorities have removed four lions and two bears from the estate of a notorious Romanian gangster, who reportedly used them to threaten his victims.

Ion Balint was arrested 22 February with dozens of others on charges of attempted murder, kidnapping, blackmail and possessing illegal weapons.

In 2009, he was sentenced for human trafficking, violence and pimping.

Environmental authorities and the Vier Pfoten animal charity tranquilised the animals on Wednesday, carried them on stretchers into cages and transported them to a zoo.

Dozens of bystanders gathered outside the estate's gates in Bucharest's slums.

Neighbours and relatives of Balint rejected reports from investigators who said he used the lions, which he had no permit for, to intimidate his victims.

They said the 48-year-old Balint is simply an animal lover.

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