A pilot, a lawyer, a police officer and other South African members of an alleged poaching ring accused of killing two dozen rhinos over several years have appeared in a court in Pretoria, South Africa's capital.

A judge on Monday ordered the group's alleged ringleader, Hugo Ras, to remain in custody until a bail hearing on Oct. 8.

The 10 suspects who crowded onto a long bench in the courtroom were arrested Sept. 19 after a yearlong investigation by police and other agencies.

South Africa is struggling to stem a surge in rhino poaching as demand for rhino horn rises in some parts of Asia, including China and Vietnam. Some people view rhino horn as a status symbol and a healing agent, despite a lack of evidence that it can cure.