Alex Mitchey
1 minute read
30 Sep 2014
11:05 am

Rhino poaching accused’s ‘life under threat’

Alex Mitchey

The Pretoria Magistrates' Court heard on Tuesday that if Trudie Ras is granted bail, her life may be at risk.

Picture: Thinkstock

The state put on record that numerous members of the public have taken to social media threatening the lives of the accused if they are granted bail.

Trudie, who is the wife of the alleged rhino poaching kingpin Hugo Ras, faces 21 charges which include theft, illegal possession of scheduled subastances, possession of rhino horns, and transporting and sale of rhino horns.

In her affidavit on Monday, Trudie Ras said she did not communicate with members of the accused other than her husband, brother and brother-in-law.

However, the state put on record that she was present during the planning of poaching rhinos and planning of selling rhino horns with her husband and other members of the syndicate, namely Mandla Magagula and warrant officer Willie Oosthuizen.

Her brother Abraham Smit, Jacobus Steyn and Willem van Jaarsveld are alongside her are also applying for bail.

On Monday morning, Ras kissed his wife goodbye in the dock as his bail hearing was postponed to October 8.

Ras along with warrant officer Oosthuizen, Joseph Wilkinson, MC Scheepers, Mandla Magagula and Ras’ brother Anton, were remanded in custody and left the court.

The 10 accused, who were arrested on September 19 in a countrywide operation, are facing a total of 318 charges, including the killing of rhino and selling their horns, intimidation, money laundering and racketeering.

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

The alleged syndicate’s activities have been described as the ruthless serial killing of rhino.