Durban - Two of the four men allegedly involved in operating a drug laboratory in Kloof were told by a magistrate that they had no prospect of success when the trial got under way.
Chinese nationals Wing Lik Wong, 58, Kin Hung Yip, 56, plus Warren Daniels, 24, of Cape Town, and Chatsworth resident Junaid Rasool, 24, were denied bail on Friday.
In ruling on their bail application, Pinetown magistrate Queen Khuzwayo launched a stinging rebuke on the four men, saying they were evasive, dishonest and certain parts of Daniel’s affidavit seemed like a “joke” to her.
The men have been charged with dealing in or, being in possession of methaqualone, the active ingredient in the manufacture of mandrax.
Police investigations revealed that the house in Everton Road, Kloof, contained 2 800 litres of methaqualone in sludge form and 45kg in powder form.
The two Chinese nationals and Daniels were arrested in the raid in June and Rasool, the registered owner of the property, was arrested on July 17 after handing himself over to the police.
Khuzwayo said the State’s case, which is based on testimony from investigating officer Colonel Amod Khalil Hoosen of the Hawks narcotics unit, was strong.
She said none of the accused had proven to the court that they merited being granted bail.
“The three accused were arrested at the house were wearing gas masks and laboratory uniforms when the police raided. Tools and equipment were found and machines were running. This is a clear indication that this was an operation.
With regard to Daniels, Khuzwayo did not hold back.
“He (Daniels) said he had no knowledge of what was going on in the house and that he was merely conducting renovations. Yet when the police raided the house, the men were all wearing uniforms and gas masks. He does not reside with his family and has no fixed abode, yet in his affidavit for bail he says that his co-accused (Chinese men) can reside with him. I thought this was a joke when I read it.
“His version that he is taking into the trial court is weak. Just as well he submitted an affidavit, otherwise the State advocate would have had a field day with him if he testified in the box,” Khuzwayo remarked.
She said Wong and Yip were dishonest in their testimony when they indicated they had no previous brushes with the law.
“These two accused are telling the court, don’t worry, let us go and we will find a way around the immigration issues. There is evidence proving they were illegally in the country and were travelling in and out constantly, performing contractual work.
“Evidence was also produced of their previous convictions, yet they said they had none. Do they think the court must just forget the evidence against them? They are heading into the trial court with no prospect of success,” the magistrate said.
She said Rasool had provided the court with a ludicrous support for bail.
“What strikes me as odd is that he is supporting his bail application by saying the house, which is under investigation, is on his name, therefore he has a fixed abode. He has given me some long, sloppy story about a relative (Duncan Naidoo) who approached him and made him sign the house on his name, yet he says he had no knowledge of this house,” she said.
“He was also evasive when initially questioned by the police, and then he jogs his memory and starts remembering the house.”
She said the public outcry was overwhelming in the case and praised the excellent testimony given by Colonel Hoosen.
The matter was adjourned to September and the four men were remanded in custody.
l Meanwhile, in Magistrate Wendy Robinson’s court in Pinetown on Friday, Denver Joseph, Gonasagren Mooroogasen, Norman Reyneud and Jerico Chetty, who were all arrested in connection with the Crestholme drugs operation last month, were also denied bail.
The Crestholme court proceedings last week revealed that there existed a loan agreement for more than R2 million between Durban businessman Duncan Naidoo and Jerico Chetty, with part of the money being used to buy the Kloof property.