South Africa 8.10.2014 12:00 am

Deny ‘poachers’ bail – activists

Image courtesy stock.xchnge

Image courtesy stock.xchnge

A group of activists have gathered around the Pretoria Magistrates’ Court, asking that bail be denied to members of an alleged rhino poaching syndicate.

Last week, four alleged members of the syndicate were denied bail.

Trudie Ras, her brother Abraham Smit, Bonnie Steyn and Willem van Jaarsveld had their bail denied as Magistrate Desmond Nair found that the state had strong evidence that the suspects could interfere with witnesses and that they may be flight risks.

Alleged kingpin Hugo Ras, his suspected right hand man Willie Oosthuizen, Mandla Magagula and Anton Ras have yet to apply for bail.

Alleged member Joseph Wilkinson has applied for bail twice before the Pretoria High Court. Both urgent applications were dismissed.

The alleged syndicate faces a total of 318 charges including poaching of rhino, racketeering, money laundering and selling of rhino horn.

The state alleges they have evidence that links the group to 84 rhino horns which were poached and stolen.

The syndicate is said to have links to international trafficking markets including those in Vietnam and China.

Activists were chanting “no bail for poachers” and piled into the court room on Wednesday.

 

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