Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Cele says police 'gatvol' with bail

Cele says police 'gatvol' with bail
2011-10-18 23:26

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Cape Town - It's an old story but police commissioner Bheki Cele told it well.

He recalled on Tuesday how police arrested members of the notorious Rolex gang that specialised in stealing watches made by the Swiss luxury brand only to have a Pretoria magistrate grant the suspects bail yet again.

"About two months ago there was a huge drama in court in Pretoria. The police were tired. In Afrikaans, they were 'gatvol'," Cele told Parliament's portfolio committee on police.

The investigating officer refused to release the suspects.

"The police told the magistrate: 'you arrest me for contempt of court, I'll arrest you for defeating the ends of justice'," he said.

"The police were not budging and by the way, I support them. The police are frustrated on the bail issue."

Cele said mediators were dispatched to the court room and other charges pending against the suspects were brought immediately. Bail was then denied.

Other members of senior police management said the case may date further back than a few months and they could not recall the exact details.

Cele said the Rolex gang appeared to have inside information on who owned the watches because insurance companies made their clients specify the brand names of such items.

As a result the gang knows "that you have it, whether you buy it in Paris or here. They come knocking on your door.

"Everybody who buys a Rolex get registered for insurance, so they have their own database," he said.

The alleged leader of the gang, Kelvin Ludidi, is one of the country's most wanted men. Police said last month that he had been given bail at least 16 times.

Cele told the committee that notorious cash-in-transit heist robbery suspect Seuntjie van Wyk had been bailed 32 times and was on free foot at present.

"He's outside," he said.


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