MAJOR ONLINE GAMBLING RAIDS IN CYPRUS
03rd April, 2011 at 01:41:49
Multi-discipline police teams confiscate equipment, guns and cash in three busts
Teams made up of policemen from anti-vice, drug and rapid reaction squads raided three premises in Larnaca, Cyprus at the end of the week, rousting online gambling operators into the early hours of the morning. The raids followed undercover investigations and a sting operation.
The Cyprus Mail reports that the raiding parties confiscated large sums of money, computer equipment, deactivated firearms and even title deeds in the raids, which were held during a week in which parliamentarians haggled over a bill to ban online gambling from the Mediterranean island.
One man - the owner of one of the three premises targeted - was taken in for questioning, charged and later released.
Commenting on the police action, Justice Minister Loucas Louca said the police had warned a few months ago that these enforcement operations would start. "And they will continue in order to deal with this problem," he added. "We hope that parliament finally passes the relevant bill so as to offer the police further ammunition to radically deal with this phenomenon, which has turned into a social problem."
Police spokesman Michalis Katsounotos expressed a similar opinion, saying that police raids have only temporarily deterrent effects, and that owners quickly replace seized equipment and relocate.
"We have a legal and a moral obligation to protect and safeguard individuals, families and the wider Cypriot society at large from the consequences of gambling addiction," the police spokesman stressed.
Police also arrested a woman from Ukraine who was illegally residing on the island, as well as a man from Pakistan, who was working illegally.
Related News Tags: Crime, Cyprus