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TURKS TURN UP HEAT ON GANGLAND BRITS; Bid to bring crooks to justice.

Byline: ANDY GARDENER Crime Correspondent

BRITISH crimelords living in the "gangster's paradise" of Northern Cyprus could at last be brought to justice.

They fled to the Turkish-held part of the island when it became Europe's last refuge from UK extradition laws.

But Turkey is desperate to join the EU and wants to be seen cleaning up its act. So local police are to investigate the crimes and try the criminals there.

They are already looking at the case of Kemal Kamalzade, a suspected murderer who fled to Cyprus in February 2001 to escape trial in the UK.

He is alleged to have been responsible for a petrol bomb which led to the death of Colin Salt in December 2000.

Detective Inspector Roger Dutton, of Stafforshire Police, said: "A team will be flying to Britain to see whether they can put together a case.

"This is massively important for the victim's family, and has implications for future co-operation with the police in Northern Cyprus.

"We think we have sufficient evidence for the Turkish Cypriots to put together a trial. If this happens, witnesses will be flown to the island to give evidence."

Cyprus is home to a criminal elite, including suspected fraudster Asil Nadir, who fled in 1993 after his Polly Peck business empire collapsed.

Big-time drug barons Mickey Greene, Brian "the Milkman" Wright and Gary Robb are also believed to be holed up on the island.

Meat scammer Peter "Maggot" Roberts is also there. Another fugitive, Stanley Rankin, a thief who boasted he was one of the UK's "three most wanted men", was murdered on the island last year.

A source told the Sunday Mirror: "The Turkish Cypriots are showing their determination to crack down on some of Britain's major criminals.

"There will be hundreds of bigtime crooks who thought they were safe from British law who will now be looking anxiously over their shoulder. The irony is that British jails are luxurious compared to those in Northern Cyprus. They may come to regret their few years in the sunshine."

Kamalzade's case will be followed closely by the community of ex-pat villains.

However the No1 target for British police - Asil Nadir, who is accused of stealing pounds 150million - is unlikely to be brought to justice because of his close ties with the community.

But others will find it harder to escape arrest - like drug king Greene, who is one of Britain's richest men.

ASIL NADIR

SUSPECTED fraudster Nadir, 62, fled Britain in 1993 after his wide-ranging Polly Peck business empire collapsed. He is accused of stealing pounds 150million. He lives openly in Lapta and has offices in Nicosia. He has always refused to return to Britain, but the Turks are unlikely to target him because he has close ties wth the local community.

BRIAN WRIGHT

SEEN in a picture secretly taken by Customs, Wright - known as "The Milkman" because he always delivers - fled to Northern Cyprus in 1999 after he was accused by an Old Bailey judge of importing cocaine worth pounds 360million over two years. His hideaway now is believed to be in remote hills in the north of the island.

MICKEY GREENE

DRUG baron Mickey Greene is one of Britain's richest men with a pounds 150million fortune. The 62-year-old one-time armed robber made his cash from importing cocaine. There are claims he buried pounds 10million in hills above Spain's Costa del Sol.

PETER ROBERTS

ROBERTS, 68 - the mastermind behind Britain's most notorious meat scam - lives near Famagusta. He fled six years jail.

OZGUY CEVAT

CEVAT, 24, is serving 14 years for man-slaughter on his native Cyprus after a major operation involving UK and Turkish police.
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Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jul 11, 2004
Words:607
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