SA jails Czech 'mafia boss' for 35 years

JOHANNESBURG - A South African court has sentenced a Czech businessman to 35 years in jail for attempted murder and kidnapping.

The charges against Radovan Krejcir, seen as the kingpin of Johannesburg's criminal underworld, date back to a drug deal in 2013.

He was accused of ordering the kidnapping a man whose brother had disappeared with 25kg (55lbs) of crystal meth.

The man testified that Krejcir poured boiling water over his head.

Krejcir seems to be synonymous with drama, having tried to escape from custody a number of times, says the BBC's Pumza Fihlani in Johannesburg.

Months prior his arrest in 2013, he made local and international headlines when he survived an attempt to kill him using guns hidden behind a car number plate operated by remote control.

He was supposed to be sentenced on Monday, but the court had to be evacuated following a bomb threat.

Krejcir, who had pleaded not guilty, left the court in shackles but with a smile after his sentencing.

This is not out of character for the man who has seemed cavalier throughout the trial, our reporter says.

One of Krejcir's co-accused, Desai Luphondo, was also sentenced to 35 years in jail.

Four others, including three who had been members of the elite police unit, the Hawks, were given sentences of 15 years each.

Krejcir still faces other criminal charges, including one of murdering a Lebanese national.

A number of his associates have been killed in separate incidents over the years but Krejcir has repeatedly denied any involvement with local organised crime syndicates.

The businessman is also wanted in the Czech Republic, where he was convicted in absentia in 2014 on tax fraud charges.

Krejcir moved to South Africa in 2007, where he is applying for asylum.

He says he will be killed if he is forced to return to the Czech Republic.

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