JOHANNESBURG (TheBlaze/AP) -- An international fugitive...sporting a bulletproof Mercedes-Benz...that gets sprayed by gunfire from remote-controlled barrels hidden behind the rear license plate of an unoccupied car nearby...which then bursts into flames, presumably to hide evidence.
What sounds like a scene out of a James Bond flick was all too real, according to South African police.
The wild incident was a possible attempt to kill Radovan Krejcir, a Czech fugitive who was sentenced in his country last year to 11 years in jail for tax fraud and has been linked to underworld figures in Johannesburg, police say.
Krejcir emerged unscathed from Wednesday's episode, which peppered his bulletproof Mercedes Benz with impact marks and shocked veteran observers of South Africa's organized crime who thought they had seen it all. The empty, parked vehicle where the weapon was hidden burst into flames after the shooting, possibly destroying evidence.
"All my life is like James Bond stuff," Krejcir said with a chuckle in an interview with Eyewitness News, a South African media outlet. "That's how I live my life."
And who might want to kill him? At first, Krejcir reportedly said he didn't know. Then he said that if he had any theories, he wasn't saying.
The episode was the one of the most outlandish chapters in the long saga of the underworld in Johannesburg, where turf battles over drugs, fraud schemes and other spoils sometimes turn deadly. Over the years, South Africans have been riveted by this fringe universe of hit men, corrupt cops, sleaze merchants and grisly murders.
Security consultant Rory Steyn said on Radio 702 that there could be "any number of motives" for the incident, whether it was an attack on Krejcir or even something that he set up himself to appear like an assassination attempt.
Krejcir told local media that he initially thought he was hearing fireworks. He speculated that someone knew he always parked in the same place, positioned the gun-fitted VW for the hit and then triggered it from a distance.
Not unlike something that Q, the hi-tech whiz in the British secret service of the Bond movies, would devise in his laboratory. The getup on the car outside Krejcir's gold and diamonds pawn shop evoked "Goldfinger," the Bond movie in which 007 drives an Aston Martin with gun barrels behind the front indicators.
The James Bond Aston Martin DB5 in Warminster, England. (Credit: Getty Images)
Photographs of the stolen red VW Polo in Johannesburg show a dozen gun barrels, some of them melted or contorted by the fire that followed the shooting.
It was an accurate effort. About 10 bullets hit the driver's window (which, remember, is on the right-hand side of the car in this part of the world), but Krejcir was out of the vehicle at that point, talking on his phone.
Sean Newman, co-author of a book about a murdered strip club owner, said he was in the area at the time and had a close look at the rigged vehicle. He suggested the skills and planning required for such a job may have come from abroad.
"It was definitely very sophisticated," he said. "My first impression was that this was not local."
"He's always come across as very respectful and charming in my presence. He's never threatened me," Newman said of Krejcir. "I've never seen him lose his temper. I'm sure others have."
Here's a report from Eyewitness News in South Africa: