European activists said on Wednesday they were attacked by poachers while working along British bases police in the Famagusta area, a hotbed of illegal bird trapping.
No one was injured in the attack that was recorded on video.
Members of the Committee Against Bird Slaughter (Cabs), said they were “violently attacked” on Tuesday night while cooperating with the local British police in reporting a trapping site within Dhekelia base.
The activists said their car was attacked, apparently by a poacher, who rammed them with his car while they were inside their vehicle.
“The activists tried to dodge the attack by driving away but the assailant continued to smash his car into the activists’ vehicle repeatedly in an attempt to immobilise their car and assault them,” according to a news release.
Cabs said the incident went on for around 10 minutes “in a Hollywood-like chase”.
Bases police, they said, were unable to stop the assault but escorted the activists back to the police station.
Cabs claimed that the car used to attack them was “registered under the name of a well-known criminal of the area, who amongst other types of illegal business, is also known for ‘earning his bread’ by trapping and marketing protected bird species, such as blackcaps” served locally as ambelopoulia delicacies.
The trapper and his gang have been well known to both the British bases and Cyprus police authorities for years now and have been repeatedly reported to the authorities by Cabs anti-poaching volunteers, the activists said.
“This sense of immunity that the certain ‘mafia boss’ feels, reminds us of Hollywood movies of the 60s, and we would never expect this to be actually possible on UK soil in the 21st century,” said Andrew Rose, retired officer of the British Army and now Cabs activist.
“The Sovereign Base Area cannot be a ‘Wild West’ for trapper gangs. We call on the SBA authorities to immediately take action and resolve this incident, which was definitely an assault against the life of the four activists.”
Ambelopoulia is a business worth some €16m million per year according to the Game Fund.