Alleged car theft kingpins in court

Four men suspected of being "big fish" in a gang that deals in stolen vehicles in Newcastle, northern KwaZulu-Natal, made a brief appearance in the town's magistrates' court yesterday.

Kuni Gumede, 50, Patrick Shongwe, 42, and Khumalo brothers Siphiwe, 31, and Vika, 32, were arrested last week. A taxi owner, arrested with the men, was released due to insufficient evidence.

The men, accused of stealing a mini-bus, were not asked to plead.

While the vehicle has been returned to its rightful owner, detectives believe the four are linked to other vehicle thefts in the area.

Captain Shooz Magudulela, police spokesman said they had caught the "big fish". - Mhlaba Memela