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Limassol armed robbery interrupted ‘gambling tournament’ (Updated)

Limassol, armed robbery, gambling, crime
Police officers at the scene of the crime

By Tom Cleaver and Nikolaos Prakas

Police were collecting testimony from partygoers in Limassol on Friday, where four armed robbers stole over €20,000 worth of money and items.

Speaking to Cyprus Mail, Police Spokesman Christos Andreou said that there were around 30 partygoers at what was a former restaurant in Limassol owned by a Russian businessman, where they were gambling.

He added that some individuals fled the scene when the four masked armed men entered the former tavern, fired several shots in the air, and proceeded to tie up onlookers who remained, before robbing the place.

This is the first time we have had this type of crime with this brutality, and we are very concerned,” Andreou told Alpha News in the morning.

Andreou said that police have also collected evidence from the scene, which was being taken for lab testing.

He added that the perpetrators appeared to have knowledge about the private meeting, which is being considered in the investigation of the case.

Later in the day, the head of the Limassol CID, Lefteris Kyriacou, also told Alpha News that a Special Investigative Team has been set up to solve the case.

Kyriacou confirmed that the individuals at the party were gambling but said that it seemed to be a game among friends. “We have some information that at that place some games were organised, but they must be turned into official testimony,” he said.

Commenting on the testimonies being collected, Kyriacou said, “Interviews with the attendees have not been completed. We have received 16 so far and still have so many more to go. There were several persons there and statements are still being taken, but we are assessing information about the perpetrators for their identification.”

Regarding the suspects, Kyriacou said that some information about the size of the individuals has been provided.

According to Phileleftherosthe building hosted regular poker tournaments, private parties, and other gambling activities.

Their information also said that one of the people injured is a Greek Cypriot, who, they said, “resisted the robbers and as a result received several blows to the head” as a result.

Another person, of Georgian origin, was also injured, while Russian businessmen were also present at the building when the robbery took place.

According to the report in Philenews, accusations have been raised against a Bulgarian national who is “well known to the authorities”. He was called to give a statement to police in Limassol on Friday.

Commenting on the incident on Thursday, Justice Minister Marios Hartsiotis said the armed robbery as a particularly serious incident.

He added that, due to the seriousness of the incident, the Chief of Police was in Limassol “to give the necessary directions for the best possible investigation of the incident”.

Four hooded men had entered the building, which is located in the Ayios Georgios Alamanos area of Limassol, carrying pistols and short-barrelled weapons.

They then forced the partygoers to lie on the ground, tied their hands with cable ties, and fired several shots in the air.

With the partygoers immobilised, they then reportedly made off with up to €20,000 worth of money and goods, including mobile phones, watches, car keys, and wallets.

Later at a distance of five hundred metres from the robbery site, a bag was found, in which mobile phones and car keys of the victims were found.

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