Alleged rhino poaching kingpin remanded in custody

FILE PICTURE: Alleged rhino poaching syndicate boss Hugo Ras sits in the back of a Hawks vehicle. Picture: Refilwe Modise

Alleged rhino poaching kingpin Hugo Ras, believed to be part of one of South Africa’s biggest alleged rhino poaching syndicates, has been remanded in custody along with five other accused on Monday.

Ras kissed his wife goodbye as she stayed behind in the Pretoria Magistrates’ court for her bail application to be heard.

Ras, along with Warrant Officer Willie Oosthuizen, Joseph Wilkinson, MR Scheepers, Mandla Magagula and Ras’ brother Anton have been remanded in custody until October 8, when it is expected their bail applications will be heard.

Ras’ wife Trudie, along with Bonnie Stein, Abraham Smit and Willem van Jaarsveld will have their bail heard later on Monday.

The ten accused are facing a total of 318 charges. They stand accused of slaughter rhino and selling the horns among other charges.

A conservative estimate of the 84 illegally obtained horns is said to be around R16 million.

Hawks spokesperson Captain Paul Ramaloko earlier called the syndicate’s operations the “serial killing” of rhino.

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