By Maria Tsangari
In an attempt to stamp out gambling police this week carried out a series of raids island-wide confiscating 193 desktop computers, ten laptops, 108 hard drives, two televisions and around €16,490 in cash.
On Wednesday, police confiscated 71 computers and arrested four people after raids at 13 betting shops in Paphos and one in Limassol. Officers raided 13 betting shops between 3pm and 9.30pm in Paphos and confiscated 63 computers. They also arrested four people who were charged in writing and released to be summoned at a later date.
In Limassol, a betting shop was raided and eight computers were confiscated.
Police also raided establishments on Tuesday in Nicosia, Larnaca and Paphos and confiscated a total of 112 computers, ten laptops, 108 hard drives, two televisions and around €16,490 in cash.
In Nicosia they seized eight computers, two televisions and €155 in cash from one betting shop. The establishment’s owner was cautioned and will appear in court at a later date.
Police also raided a 32-year-old’s home in Larnaca at around 6.30pm on Tuesday and confiscated 104 computers, ten laptops, €11,080 and $7,145 (around €5,259) in cash and 108 hard drives, from his storeroom which were suspected of containing gambling software.
Officers found various numbers believed to be access codes to the computers, and a backpack with wads of Iraqi currency. Various documents were also found with deposits and withdrawals of money which police believe were the amounts won by various gamblers at the online casino.
According to reports, the 32-year-old cut the power to his home as soon as he noticed the police had arrived to carry out a check. He was arrested and remanded yesterday by Larnaca district court for four days.
The 32-year-old denied any knowledge of the matter and claimed that he was just a computer technician and that the storeroom was his workplace.
Police are looking for one more person in connection with the case who they believe supplied the suspect with the computers. In another raid in Paphos, the 55-year-old owner of a coffee shop was cautioned after officers found and confiscated 89 playing chips and two decks of cards and six people who were playing cards.
These operations will continue until the problem of gambling is put to an end, police said.