South Africa detains one of Britain's "most wanted fugitives"

JOHANNESBURG Mon Aug 4, 2014 10:42am EDT

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JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - A South African court on Monday remanded convicted British drug trafficker and fraudster Martin Evans, a phoney ostrich farmer who was on the run for three years before his arrest in Johannesburg at the weekend.

Evans, named by British police in 2012 as one of their "most wanted fugitives", appeared in a Johannesburg court on Monday but his extradition hearing was postponed until Aug. 11 because he did not have proper legal representation.

The 52-year-old from Swansea was jailed in Britain for 21 years in 2006 for conspiracy to supply cocaine and fraudulent trading, but he escaped in 2011 when he failed to return to prison after being released on a five-day license.

Evans, a former Young Businessman of the Year for Wales, swindled more than 100 investors, many newly-retired pensioners, out of around 900,000 pounds ($1.5 million) by promising huge returns from a spurious ostrich-breeding business.

South African police arrested Evans at a housing complex in Johannesburg on Saturday night after a joint operation with Interpol and British security agencies.

"This arrest shows the NCA and its partners will pursue fugitives wherever they are in the world," said Hank Cole, Head of International Operations at Britain's National Crime Agency.

"They can run but they can't hide." ($1 = 0.59 British Pounds)

(Reporting by Siyabonga Sishi; Writing by Joe Brock; Editing by Ed Cropley)

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