JOHANNESBURG - It was a lethal gadget right out of a James Bond movie: Remote-controlled gun barrels rigged behind the rear license plate of a car that spray bullets at an unsuspecting target.
But South African police say it 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.
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. "That's how I live my life."
And who might want to kill him? Krejcir reportedly 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.
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, but Krejcir was out of the vehicle at that point, talking on his phone.