Czech mate: Pair bust stealing rare Cape plants worth R1m

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Czech mate: Pair bust stealing rare Cape plants worth R1m

Two foreigners nabbed with more than 1,000 species of SA succulents with a high price tag on the black market

Journalist

Two Czech men who travelled in their rental car along the scenic highways of the Western Cape fit the bill of nature-loving tourists until they were bust as succulent hunters plundering rare and globally unique plants.

Equipped with special collection bags and GPS co-ordinates to pinpoint the location of commercially valuable plant treasures, the pair ripped out more than 1,000 specimens from the dry and stony landscape unique to the Western Cape – a haul that included several “critically rare” plants and more than 900  vulnerable or protected plants – without permits or permission.

The two – 65-year-old Jaromir Chvastek and Tomas Malir, 56 – came unstuck near the remote dorp of Bitterfontein last month when they were nabbed by officials from CapeNature and the SA Police Service stock theft unit from Malmesbury...

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