3 arrested hours before planned hit on Krejcir investigators

2014-01-09 20:22
(<a href='https://twitter.com/KarinLaB'>Karin Labuschagne</a> via Twitter)

(Karin Labuschagne via Twitter)

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Johannesburg - Three people accused of plotting to kill a police investigator associated with the Radovan Krejcir investigation and a civilian were arrested on Thursday, said Gauteng police.

"The murder was supposed to go down today," said Lieutenant General Solomon Makgale.

A man was arrested in a restaurant in Sandton around midday, and a man and a woman were arrested at a hotel in Sandton just before 17:00, he said. The men were aged 32 and 33, and the woman was 23.

The hotel parking lot was cordoned off by the police. Curious hotel guests looked on as the three were bundled into police vehicles.

More arrests expected

Makgale said more arrests were expected.

"One of the men arrested today was being sought for the kidnapping and attempted murder case which Krejcir is being held for," he said.

Police seized firearms, including an R5 rifle and two 9mm pistols, police blue lights and siren, said Makgale.

They also confiscated three cars: a BMW X6, a Nissan panel van and a Toyota Fortuner; Gauteng car registration plates, five balaclavas and six cellphones, he said. The three vehicles were still in the hotel's parking lot late on Thursday afternoon.

"We have been receiving pieces of information since the arrest of Radovan Krejcir," said Makgale.

"One piece of information was this plot to kill the two men today [Thursday]."

It was thought they intended killing forensic investigator Paul O'Sullivan and crime intelligence officer Colonel Nkosana "Killer" Ximba.

Tipped off

O'Sullivan told EyeWitness News that he was tipped off about the attempt on his life on Thursday morning.

The three were arrested by a police task team investigating the Czech fugitive.

They were expected to appear soon in the Sandton Magistrate's Court on charges of conspiracy to commit murder, theft and possession of a stolen vehicle.

"This is a major breakthrough for the [SA Police Service] and it will definitely further tighten our case against Radovan Krejcir," said Makgale.

Earlier on Thursday, Krejcir's application to overturn an earlier ruling denying him bail was rejected by the High Court in Johannesburg.

Bail denied

Judge Leonie Windell said she was satisfied with Palm Ridge Regional Court magistrate Reginald Dama's decision on 13 December to deny Krejcir bail.

Krejcir, Desai Luphondo, and two members of the Hawks, Warrant Officers Samuel Modise Maropeng and George Jeff Nthoroane, were arrested in November and face charges of kidnapping, assault, and attempted murder.

In her finding, Windell noted that Krejcir had previously fled countries to evade trial, and out of fear that he would be killed.

"[Krejcir] faces similar circumstances in South Africa. There have been at least two attempts on his life and two of his associates were killed," she said.

Windell said that in the past, Krejcir had experienced no difficulty obtaining false travel documents and hiding from authorities.

She said a witness in the case had received death threats and that his dogs had been killed.

Francois Roets, for Krejcir, said his team would seek leave on Friday to appeal to the Supreme Court of Appeal.

In June, Krejcir and his three co-accused allegedly kidnapped and assaulted a man whose brother, known only as Doctor, disappeared with a 25kg shipment of tik he had been recruited to help smuggle through OR Tambo International Airport.

They allegedly kept the man at Krejcir's Money Point business in Bedfordview, Johannesburg, for four days, and assaulted him.

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