Cyprus Mail

Airport bomb hoaxer remanded

By George Psyllides

A 56-year-old man from Nicosia was remanded in custody for three days yesterday in connection with a bomb hoax that forced authorities to evacuate Larnaca airport for around an hour the previous day, just as the island was preparing for the arrival of US Vice President Joe Biden.

Police initially said an unknown man had called the airport’s call centre at 9am on Tuesday using a mobile phone, warning that a bomb would explode in 30 minutes.

Authorities determined the handset’s International Mobile Station Equipment Identity or IMEI number, and pinpointed the caller near the Larnaca nautical club.

The court heard that two prepaid cards were used on the same handset and a third one that is registered to the suspect’s name.

The man was arrested at his home in the Nicosia suburb of Strovolos. A search of the residence came up empty.

When questioned by police, the suspect admitted a number was his but he did not use the card on the particular handset.

He claimed that at the time in question he was in the Oroklini police station area – not far from the nautical club — where he parked his bus. He later drove to Phinikoudes, the court heard.

The defence said there was no proof that the suspect was the owner of the handset used to place the call to the airport and neither that nor the card used had been found by the police.

The attorney said two other prepaid cards had been used on the same handset but the police had not tried to locate them.

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