Angelique Serrao's Krejcir: Business As Usual exposes the bizarre underworld of jailed gangster Radovan Krejcir
To his underlings he was known as “Baas John” .To South African law enforcement he was an elusive and dangerous mafia boss.
In Krejcir: Business as Usual, News24 investigative journalist Angelique Serrao tells the story of Czech fugitive Radovan Krejcir who arrived in South Africa 10 years ago under a false passport. Serrao is an award-winning writer who has been covering Krejcir since 2010 – and his tale is far, far stranger than fiction.
He was a fugitive, a powerful Czech multimillionaire who escaped imprisonment on fraud charges and fled to the good life in the Seychelles. But a bid by the Czech Republic to have him extradited saw Krejcir coming to South Africa. He was arrested at the airport, but an alleged bribe kept him in the country.
That was the start of his dealings in the underworld. He bought a multimillion-rand property in the affluent suburb of Bedfordview in eastern Johannesburg. Close by was a restaurant called the Harbour, where he would meet friends, business associates, police officers, victims and enemies.
Soon bodies started piling up around him. Cyril Beeka, a well-known Capetonian and friend of Krejcir, was assassinated after his car stopped at a robot.The murder sent shockwaves through the criminal underworld, particularly in Cape Town.
One of the more dramatic events was a bizarre movie-style shoot-out when a car fitted with a revolving machine gun fired on the gangster. Later, Krejcir's Money Point pawn shop in Bedfordview was blown up by a bomb left inside a bag, killing two associates.
Over the next three years 10 more deaths took place, each one more dramatic than the next. It was the murder of Lolly Jackson that brought Krejcir's name into the limelight and revealed his dealing with crime intelligence boss Joey Mabasa and small-time criminal George Louka.
Krejcir was arrested. But in true Radovan Krejcir style, he was plotting an elaborate escape from prison. This police foiled, as well as his plans to kill forensic investigator Paul O'Sullivan and a police general.
He has since been found guilty and sentenced for kidnapping, attempted murder and attempted drug possession.
In the book, Serrao captures the often unbelievable sequence of events in a simple, understandable way. Readers from Gauteng will also find they are familiar with places mentioned in the book.
At under 290 pages this is a riveting read about a stranger from a little-known European country who wreaked havoc in South Africa. If you are into tales from the underworld, this book is for you.
Krejcir: Business as Usual by Angelique Serrao is published by Jonathan Ball Publishers.