South African police foil hit on top officer investigating Czech fugitive
Czech businessman, Radovan Krejcir, left, looks back towards his family whilst siting in the dock guarded by members of the police Tactical Response Team at the Palm Ridge Magistrate's Court in Alberton south of Johannesburg, South Africa, Monday, Dec. 2, 2013. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)
Published Friday, January 10, 2014 10:36AM EST
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa -- The foiling of planned hits on a top police officer and a private investigator investigating Czech national Radovan Krejcir, who is facing charges of attempted murder, assault and kidnapping, will tighten the state's case against him, a police spokesman said Friday.
Lt.Gen. Solomon Makgale said two men and a woman who were allegedly plotting to kill a police investigator and a civilian associated with the Krejcir case were arrested on Thursday in police raids on a hotel and a restaurant in Johannesburg. The two alleged targets were identified in the media as police investigator Col. Nkosana Ximba and high-profile private forensic investigator Paul O'Sullivan.
The arrests came as Krejcir was preparing to launch a third bid to obtain bail after having two applications turned down owing to being regarded as a flight risk and concerns that he could interfere with witnesses.
Krejcir, Desai Luphondo, and two members of the Hawks elite police unit, Warrant Officers Samuel Modise Maropeng and George Jeff Nthoroane, are accused of the June kidnapping and torture of the brother of an associate of Krejcir, who allegedly stole 25 kilograms (55 pounds) of drugs from Krejcir.
About Thursday's arrests, Makgale said: "This is a major breakthrough for the police and it will definitely further tighten our case against Radovan Krejcir."
Police planned to make more arrests, he added.
According to Makgale, one of the men arrested in the raids was being sought in the kidnapping and attempted murder case for which Krejcir is being held. Police are still looking for another police officer in connection with the case, he added.
During the raids, police recovered three firearms as well as blue lights and sirens used by police, and confiscated three vehicles.
The three suspects are expected to be charged with conspiracy to commit murder, theft and possession of a stolen vehicle. They will appear in court soon.
Meanwhile, O'Sullivan said in an interview with South African television network eCNA that there had been five attempts on his life but that he was not intimidated.
"These attempts don't scare me at all. Instead they inspire me to investigate him (Krejcir) until he is permanently in prison for the crimes he has committed," O'Sullivan said.