Suspects wanted by Interpol and the police in the Western Cape: File image. Reuters/Pawel Kopczynski
Suspects wanted by Interpol and the police in the Western Cape: File image. Reuters/Pawel Kopczynski

Criminals wanted far and wide in the Western Cape have tentacles abroad

By Genevieve Serra Time of article published Sep 18, 2021

Share this article:

Cape Town - The Western Cape’s sought-after properties and permeable law enforcement agencies have made the perfect match for international criminals, with many hiding in the province.

Wanted criminals sought internationally often seek refuge in the Western Cape. while others find it easy to commit crimes here because law enforcement are considered ineffective with a reputation for bribery and corruption, and experts say their dangerous profiles make them untouchable.

This according to analysts including Rukshana Parker at the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organised Crime.

On the SAPS’s wanted database, nearly 100 profiles exist from crimes relating to fraud, murder, rape, theft, drugs and failure to appear in court.

According to Interpol's Red Alert Notices, three people from the Western Cape are wanted internationally for various crimes like murder and organised crime. Red Alert Notices are issued for fugitives who are wanted for outstanding cases and are requested by law enforcement in their worldwide search to locate them.

One of these is alleged Cape Town underworld figure, Kirshor “Kammal” Naidoo, 49 — organised crime relating to attempted murder, conspiracy to commit murder, possession of unlicensed firearms and ammunition and money laundering.

In March, the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) together with South African law enforcement agencies carried out a joint operation and arrested a 32-year-old mother from Bonteheuwel after she allegedly sold naked photographs of her 4-year-old daughter on the dark web.

She is currently facing charges of manufacturing of child pornography, possession of child pornography, distribution of child pornography and financial gain from child pornography and rape. She is expected back in court on November 17.

Parker said the Western Cape perhaps seemed like the perfect place to hide or commit crimes but that their reign of terror often came to an end.

She listed examples of infamous criminals who were eventually found hiding in the Western Cape, like Keith Goldstone, a British national wanted for tax fraud, Guus Kouwenhoven, a Dutch war criminal and arms trafficker who fled to South Africa after being sentenced to 19 years and Anna Britta Nielsen of Denmark, who fled after being on the most wanted in Denmark.

“In 2020, a Cape Town magistrate found that according to the South African Extradition Act someone could be extradited for offences committed in the country requesting the extradition. As Kouwenhoven’s criminal acts were committed in Liberia, she found that he could not be extradited to the Netherlands. This narrow interpretation of the Extradition Act not only granted impunity to Kouwenhoven, but also potentially to others who have been convicted of the crimes in a country other than where they have been convicted.”

Parker said the Western Cape provided an easy playground for criminals because of the reputation of corruption, often leaving room for some to purchase property though being wanted criminals.

“South Africa/Western Cape not only provides a high standard of living, advanced banking and business systems, but its law enforcement is also considered ineffective due to its reputation for being susceptible to bribery and corruption.

“Thus we see instances of criminals who have fled to Western Cape/South Africa purchasing several properties and establishing highly profitable businesses in the Western Cape, ultimately allowing them to continue generating large incomes and enjoy a high standard of living.”

She added that a wanted person put strain on court cases and delayed justice.

“Persons on the wanted list are essentially on the run. This requires law enforcement to divert limited resources to locating them. Often too much time is spent trying to locate a wanted person, whereas that time could have been used by the state to build their case against the accused. Building a case against an accused in criminal cases is not easy.

She said the prosecution would need to prove the individual's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

“This is a high burden of proof which demands substantial amounts of time and resources.Trying to locate these persons also inevitably causes delays. When there are delays, there is a greater chance of witnesses dropping out (threatened/killed, etc), memories start to fade, documents (case files/dockets)/evidence can go missing, and there is greater potential for bribery and corruption to make the case go away, These factors can influence how the trial progresses and the chance for success.”

The Institute for Security Studies noted that criminals especially linked to organised crime syndicates were often untouchable because of their dangerous personas and posing a threat both to law enforcement agencies, investigating teams and prosecutors.

ISS researcher Lizette Lancaster said often their good life and links to money trails allowed for bribery and corruption and for networks abroad, while some posed a threat to prosecutors and investigating teams.

“One has to take into account that there are different types of criminals; the most difficult to trace and track are those linked to organised crime figures,” she said.

“Many of organised figures operate internationally, with tentacles outside of South Africa. They often live a good life without being accosted.

“The reason is that many are able to bribe and avoid prison, and they are dangerous and in many cases pose a threat to investigating officers and prosecutors. There is also the extradition processes where criminals abroad cannot be brought too book.”

National police spokesperson Brigadier Vish Naidoo said the public was their biggest asset in netting wanted criminals.

“We have a database and once the investigating officer does his search and makes the efforts to trace the suspect, he gets in touch with a tracing team and then they reach out to the public, and when there is failure to locate the suspect, we put the information on our database. When the person has absconded, we approach Interpol, and in all of these cases, the community is the most important.”

Interpol did not provide comment and responded saying, “’Interpol does not comment on specific cases or individuals, we advise you contact the relevant national authorities for any further information.”

Interpol did not provide comment and responded saying, “’Interpol does not comment on specific cases or individuals, we advise you contact the relevant national authorities for any further information.”

While Colonel Katlego Mogale, National spokesperson for the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (The Hawks) said they could not comment on Wanted suspects, particularly that of Naidoo: “The Directorate of Priority Crimes Investigation has looked into the the enquiry but unfortunately cannot divulge more information regarding Naidoo's case lest we jeopardise the case.

“These wanted suspects are wanted mostly on wildlife and marine trafficking cases.”

Wanted:

Name: Trust Muchemwa, wanted InternationallyCrime: RapeCircumstances: On December 23, 2016, Trust Muchemwa, residing at N2 Gateway in Djebobo street in Delft, allegedly rapped a 10-year-old girl. The victim was under his custody on that day. Once they were alone, he took the victim to his shack in the backyard where he allegedly raped her. The victim reported the incident to her mother and he was arrested and later granted bail. He failed to appear in court and numerous attempts were made to locate him. A warrant was eventually issued.Date of crime: 23/12/2016. Picture: South African Police
Name: Kishor NaidooGender: maleDate of birth: 13/10/1971Place of birth: Cape TownCharges: attempted murder, conspiracy to commit murder, possession of unlicensed forearms and ammunition and money laundering. picture: Interpol
Name: Zukile William TsostsaGender: MaleDate of birth: 17/01/1984Birth place: Cape TownCharges: Theft of vehicle and escaping from lawful custody. Picture: Interpol
Name: Zhuohao LiuGender: MaleDate of birth: 24/02/1968Place of birth: Shunde, Guangdong, Chinanationality : South Africa (no specification of province, also possible links to Western Cape)Charges: Drug smugglingPersons Wanted Interpol. Picture: Interpol

Share this article: