Police on Wednesday continued their investigation into the murder of a 40-year-old man on Tuesday evening in the Pyla area who appears to have been shot sniper-style from a distance.
Giorgos Georgiou, aka Chiquito, was gunned down at around 8.45pm on the way to enter his house, which is located near the motorway exit to Pyla. He sustained two bullet wounds, one to the shoulder and one to the heart.
Police have recovered a 7.62mm caliber shell casing on a mound around 130 metres from the scene.
Authorities believe that the shooter had escaped in a car waiting for him on a road that runs parallel to the victim’s home 80 metres away.
With the help of dogs, police combed a field opposite Georgiou’s home seeking three shell casings ejected from the weapon used in the shooting.
Before locating the casing, investigators were thinking of bringing one of their own snipers to the scene in a bid to pinpoint the shooter’s location.
The footage of security cameras installed at Georgiou’s house showed him getting shot but not much else, reports said.
Georgiou, a father of three, had moved his family into the house three months ago.
Reports said he had been warned by police to take measures to protect himself.
He was known to police in connection with gambling but according to reports he had also been the target of a murder plan foiled last summer.
It was said that he operated a casino in the nearby village of Pyla and was preparing to open a second one.
The village, located in the buffer zone, is inhabited by Greek and Turkish Cypriots but because of its status it is not policed by the Republic’s authorities.
It is a UN-controlled area but the force cannot execute the duties of the police, thus allowing gambling joints to operate with impunity.
It is understood that seven casinos currently operate in the village. One is operated by a Turkish Cypriot, the rest by Greek Cypriot underworld figures from all districts. The state of affairs developed in the past three years.
Most of the casinos offer electronic gambling apart from one, which also has tables.
The operators rent the buildings from Turkish Cypriots and even enjoy free electricity and water afforded by the Republic in the aftermath of the Turkish invasion that divided the island.
One resident who spoke on condition of anonymity appeared surprised that it took so long for the trouble to start.