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Pink Panther member commits suicide in Dubai jail

Image used for illustrative purpose.
An employee places gold products for sale at a shop in Hanoi June 11, 2013.
REUTERS/Kham

Image used for illustrative purpose. An employee places gold products for sale at a shop in Hanoi June 11, 2013. REUTERS/Kham

Reuters/Kham

Wednesday, Feb 15, 2017

Dubai: The infamous Pink Panther gang’s fourth member, who played a major role in masterminding the daring Dh14.74-million jewellery heist at Dubai’s Wafi City in 2007, was found dead in his prison cell in early January, an official report revealed on Wednesday.

In November, the Dubai Court of First Instance imprisoned 35-year-old Serbian gang member Borko Ilincic to 10 years for his involvement in the armed robbery at Graf jewellery store on Wafi’s ground floor during which the thieves used two stolen cars in April 2007.

The accused and prosecutors appealed the primary ruling before the Dubai Appeal Court but Ilincic missed the first trial that was scheduled on February 1.

Presiding judge Saeed Salem Bin Sarm adjourned the hearing until today [February 15] when the prison warden produced a certificate confirming that the accused had died.

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Upon summoning the appellant’s [Ilincic] name, the latter did not show up in courtroom 20, and the prison warden informed the court that the accused had died.

Presiding judge Bin Sarm thereafter asked the secretary to confirm the defendant’s demise in the court’s minutes.

When contacted, Major-General Khalil Ebrahim Al Mansouri, Assistant to the Dubai Police Chief for Criminal Investigation Affairs, said that Ilincic killed himself inside his cell in the Al Aweer central jail.

“He hanged himself using his vest. The warden found him dead inside the cell,” Major-General Al Mansouri said.

The body was examined by a forensic doctor who confirmed that it was a case of suicide, he said. “He was having a good treatment inside the jail just like the other inmates. We examined his body and it was suicide.”

A spokesperson of the Serbian Embassy in Abu Dhabi told Gulf News: “We confirm that Serbian national Borko Ilincic had committed suicide and was found dead inside his prison cell on January 2, 2017 … and that was confirmed to us by the UAE judicial authorities. A family member flew into Dubai to take over the body and repatriate it to Serbia for burial.”

Asked how or why he had hung himself inside the prison, the spokesperson had no further details to add.

Court records showed that Ilincic had appealed his 10-year imprisonment and was seeking his acquittal. He had pleaded not guilty before the primary court.

Prosecutors also appealed the primary judgement and sought to stiffen his punishment.

According to the primary ruling, the court convicted the defendant of aiding and abetting a number of unidentified robbers [some of whom have been tried and others remain at large] who stole two cars, drove into Wafi City around 10pm and brought down the jewellery shop’s front glass by crashing a car into it.

The robbers wore masks and used toy guns to terrorise shop attendants, according to court records, before they smashed the display cases with iron tools, snatched the contents and fled with jewellery worth Dh14.7 million.

The defendant was also handed a deportation order after the prison term.

Ilincic was also found guilty of forging a European passport that he used to enter the UAE during the heist and then exited using the same travel document. He entered the country illegally and stayed unlawfully.

— With inputs by Ali Al Shouk, Staff Reporter

by Bassam Za’za’ Legal and Court Correspondent

Gulf News 2017. All rights reserved.

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