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Cyprus Mail: Press Review in English, 98-09-18

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From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Friday, September 18, 1998

Underworld in all-out war

THE MURDER in Limassol of a friend of the Aeroporos family and the latest allegations about a government minister made by Disy deputy Christos Pourgourides dominated yesterday's front pages.

Simerini said there was no end in sight to the long series of crimes by rival gangs of the underworld. Criminal elements, the paper said, were totally ruthless in their efforts to wipe out their rivals, regardless of the stringent security measures taken by police.

The all-out war had claimed the life of 29-year-old Marios Panagides, a Limassol resident, who was employed, from time to time, as a nightclub bouncer and was a friend of the Aeroporos family. Three men were arrested in connection with the murder, one of whom was the brother of a man who had recently survived an attempt against his life.

Machi said that members of the Limassol underworld were in the grip of fear after Wednesday's murder that left no doubt about the murderers' plans to wipe out all their rivals. No-one can feel safe, the paper concluded.

The heinous crime and the efficient way in which it was committed made it obvious that the recent murders were the work of "ruthless, professional hit-men". Public opinion was awe-struck by the bloodbath, which the police, despite the measures taken, can do nothing stop.

Phileleftheros reported that the corruption issue had taken new dimensions after the latest allegation by Pourgourides, who had claimed that the corrupt minister also had links with the criminal underworld.

The deputy denied charges that his allegations served political expediency - press reports suggested that he was helping Diko leader Spyros Kyprianou destroy Interior Minister and Diko rebel Dinos Michaelides - and asked the government to show patience for a few more days so he that he could complete his investigations.

Alithia reported that apart from President Clerides and the Disy political bureau, the Council of Ministers was also furious with Pourgourides. It said that the minister at the centre of the allegations appeared to be Dinos Michaelides.

Ministers dismissed Pourgourides' behaviours as a "theatre of the absurd". Meanwhile, Pourgourides had promised to hand over his information to Clerides before the president departed for New York at the weekend.

Haravghi led with a report on the statement issued by the Turkish Foreign Ministry which said it was not satisfied with the postponement of the missile deployment, demanding its total cancellation. It also demanded the scrapping of the Unified Defence Dogma as well as the Paphos air base.

Turkish diplomacy had reached new levels of intransigence and provocation, the paper said.

© Copyright Cyprus Mail 1998

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