Dutch witnesses testify against Romanian gang

FARO COURT has resumed its hearing of the six Romanian men who have been accused of a series of violent crimes.  The men are accused of aggravated robbery, kidnapping, coercion and IT fraud, including the stealing of credit and debit cards of the victims and forcing them to reveal the PIN codes using methods of torture to do so.  The accusations refer to a series of attacks at isolated houses in Faro, Olhão and Loulé during 2006 and 2007.

The judicial court in Faro heard two testimonies from Dutch citizens yesterday (Wednesday, May 7) via video conferencing links between the Algarve and Holland.

Originally, witness testimonies had been expected to be heard in court on April 7 and 9 but this was postponed due to technical reasons involving the video conferencing equipment used to receive the testimonies from Holland.

Wednesday May 7 saw Johan Wolf and Wilhelmina Van Spencer give evidence against the accused men who are alleged to have robbed the house they were staying at in Moncarapacho, Olhão in January 2007.

According to Lusa news agency, the Dutch witnesses described the assailants as being four men wearing black clothes and balaclavas and confirmed that they had been threatened with death if they did not reveal the PIN numbers to their credit and debit cards.  Other items also stolen from Wilhelmina Van Spencer included money, a camera and jewellery.

All the victims of the 11 attacks allegedly committed by the gang were against English and Dutch residents in remote areas of the Eastern Algarve.

The case continues at Faro court and is expected to reach a conclusion tomorrow, Friday, May 9.

Five of the accused, Marius Lovin, 20, Alexandre Stoica, 29, Cláudio Vilcan, 29, Marius Lazer, 31, and Ion Radu, 31, have been held in preventative custody awaiting trial since their initial arrest on January 31 2007.  If found guilty of the charges, the accused gang members are expected to be given prison sentences of no less than eight years each.

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