Slovak gangland boss shot dead in hospital

A leading figure from Slovakia's criminal underworld was shot and killed in the intensive care unit of a Bratislava hospital, police said yesterday.

The murder of Robert Holub, 27, was the third attempt on his life in the past fortnight. "The unknown assassin climbed up to ... the second floor, to the window of the intensive care ward at around two o'clock on Sunday morning with the aid of a 6m aluminium folding ladder." a police spokeswoman said yesterday.

The killer fired through a closed window and blinds with a machine-gun, hitting Holub several times in the face and head. Holub, reported to be the top underworld boss in Slovakia's second largest city Kosice, was in hospital after being shot and seriously injured two weeks ago in the bar of the Hotel Danube in Bratislava. His companion was killed and the assailant fled the hotel.

At the time of Holub's murder a policeman was on guard outside the intensive care unit, police said. His killing is widely believed to be the latest incident in a gang war in Slovakia among Slovak, Russian, Ukrainian and Yugoslav mafiosi.

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