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Tales from the Coffeeshop: Criminal minds hard at work.



A CONVICTED murderer provided us with some light relief this week, temporarily lifting the heavy gloom that has settled like Sahara desert dust on the once happy island of love and social consensus.

Prankster prisoner Antonis Prokopiou Kitas, aka Al Capone, pulled off his best prank since arranging the theft of the remains of a former president, tipping off the cops that a fellow prisoner Andreas Onoufriou was allegedly behind a plot to murder AG Petros Clerides and the deputy chief of the Central Prison Giorgos Tryfonides.

The chief of police, renowned for his complete lack of a sense of humour, did not get it and took Kitas' joke seriously when it was conveyed to him and set up a top secret operation to catch the suspects before they committed the crime.

And on Sunday night the covert police operation bore fruit, when the man who was to fire the anti-tank missile, obtained from the occupied north of course, met a cop associate (not one used to catch hookers) in Engomi to take delivery of the murder weapon and was arrested.

Cop euphoria over this success was evident as spokesmen recounted on the Monday morning radio shows the details of how they had saved the AG from being blown to bits, which was not strictly true. The missile launcher their associate delivered on Sunday night did not contain a missile. Ingenious cops had cleverly replaced the original launcher with one that did not work.

THE IDEA that a LAW anti-tank missile launcher would have been used for the attack on the AG was a nice touch by Kitas, making the whole story more sensational, even if less believable. It was only a little sillier than claiming an estragosha surface to AG missile would have been used.

What was wrong with using a shotgun or a semi-automatic rifle, or even a machine gun for the attack? Did the murderer have to blow up half a neighbourhood in order to get Clerides? But if the assassin was to use a normal gun it would not have to be delivered via the cops' middleman.

The story is that the missile launcher was obtained from the north, and delivered by a friend of Onoufriou - a Larnaca lottery-ticket seller who apart from scratch-cards offers a range of anti-tank weaponry - to a middleman whom the cops claimed had decided to co-operate with them.

There was only one snag. When the missile launcher was DNA-tested there was no trace to link it to the lottery ticket/missile seller. Perhaps he got a Turkish lottery ticket seller to deliver the Turkish rocket to the middleman.

MANY unanswered questions surrounding the case remain. Did the cops actually believe that Onoufriou was so stupid he revealed his plan to Kitas while they were working in the book-binding section of the prisons? How would the plotters have killed Clerides and the deputy prison chief, bearing in mind that a LAW missile launcher is one-use? Did they investigate the possibility that another lottery-ticket seller may have supplied the exocet missile that would murder Tryfonides? Why did the police not take seriously Onoufriou's tip-off that Kitas was planning to kidnap comrade Tof's grandson, a piece of information reported during the remand hearing; was it not as believable as Kitas' revelation? Is it true that DNA testing could not identify any traces of intelligence in the police force?

ONE MAN who would have proved this hypothesis if he had been tested was the deputy Prison Chief Tryfonides, who milked his potential murder victimhood for all it was worth. "Why do these sick minds exist," he asked.

He considered resigning, he said, but the "hundreds of messages of support", he received "give me the strength to carry on the difficult task I am performing." What a hero.

He was not the only one who took Kitas' imaginative prank seriously. The political parties congratulated the cops, with EDEK praising the "high professionalism shown by the police in preventing this heinous planned crime."

AG Clerides, who knows what half-wits the force employs, said he did not feel unsafe nor had he any intention of asking for his personal security to be stepped up. Justice minister Loucas Louca was more revealing. He said that the police received a very big number of tip-offs from prisoners and only a tiny fraction of these had any basis in truth.

If the source is Kitas and the tip-off is about lottery-ticket sellers supplying anti-tank missile launchers obtained from the Turks to a paid assassin for the murder of the AG, it must belong to the tiny fraction with a basis in truth.

HAS MOTHER Russia replaced Greece as the mother country, to which all leading politicians feel obliged to pay tribute, when they want to fool people into voting for them? In the space of a week two presidential candidates - Lillikas and the Fuhrer - and the boss of the third presidential candidate, the AKEL Android, visited Moscow.

Lillikas, predictably, was the most gushing in his praise of our new foster mother, calling for an "upgrading and deepening of Cyprus-Russia relations", from "just friendly relations to a strategic partnership". When he was foreign minister Lillikas forged a strategic defence partnership with France, which involved a joint search and rescue operation, before it was shelved. Its only lasting effect of was that wall signs in the foreign ministry building that were in Greek and English were replaced by wall signs in Greek and French.

LILLIKAS also reported there was great interest among Russians in buying shares in the hydrocarbons company he would set up if, God forbid, he became president. In addition to this there was 'intense' Russian interest in helping the re-capitalisation of our insolvent banks and in investment in the creation of an energy infrastructure.

He also re-assured worried Russians that Kyproulla's natural gas would not be in competition with their natural gas and there could be "convergences of energy interests" between the two countries. The visibly nervous representative of Gazprom at the meeting breathed a big sigh of relief when he heard this.

Gazprom has nothing to fear if Lillikas is elected president.

THE FUHRER was restrained, by comparison, calling for a "substantive strengthening of Nicosia-Moscow relations". But could they be strengthened, upgraded, or deepened any further than the degree achieved by the comrade who has been acting like a proud, Putin puppet? Any further strengthening would involve ceding our sovereignty to Moscow.

Speaking on his return, the competitive Nik boasted that it was under DISY's government that relations with Russia were strengthened. He had a point, but it must have helped that we bought military hardware, including the estragoshas, totalling about a billion euro. Now we can't even afford to buy sling-shot so he will have to think of other ways to strengthen relations substantively.

Maybe, as special favour we could invite them to re-capitalise our banks, as Lillikas suggested. But I do not think we should make any concessions to Gazprom.

THE ANDROID felt he had to bring some good news back from Moscow, so he told a morning radio show that good progress was being made on the Tof fairy-tale of the Russian loan. Having had no luck with his initial request for a loan Comrade Tof submitted a new proposal which was now on the table, said the Android. At lunch-time he was forced to tell the truth. There was no new proposal, but the comrade was involved in "continuous consultations with Moscow" about the loan request he had made last June.

COMMIE lies, propaganda and misinformation have become much cruder in the last month or so, a sign of desperation. On Monday AKEL bruiser Giorgos Loucaides accused DISY and DIKO of opposing the Russian loan, as if this were the reason it was not given.

As we reported last week, the party mouthpiece Haravghi claimed that all the unpopular measures included in the government's counter proposals were suggested by DISY.

On Wednesday the paper's front-page headline read 'Troika in Cyprus on Monday'.

Meanwhile, finance ministry sources have been telling the media, every other day that the troika would announce the date of its visit in the next 24 hours, but no date has been given yet. DISY must be using its influence at the IMF to delay the arrival.

The latest news is that the IMF will announce the date of the Troikans visit on Monday night, but I wouldn't bet more than euro on it.

SOME CYPROB slogans have slipped into government's troika rhetoric. The other day comrade Android said that AKEL would support a bailout

agreement with "the right content", while comrade Tof didactically told the troika that "it needs to show flexibility" in its treatment of our counter-proposals. And if there is no bailout agreement it would be exclusively because of the troika's intransigence. The comrade has departed from his Cyprob philosophy in one regard -- he has suddenly become quite keen on asphyxiating timeframes, now that the troika does not seem in hurry seal the bailout.

KYPROULLA might not have anyone short-listed for a Nobel prize this year, but we can definitely nominate couple of candidates for the Darwin awards, which are given to people who do resoundingly stupid things.

Our best hope for an award this year must be Asil Nadir, who voluntarily went back to the UK to clear his name in the courts and was sentenced to 10 years in prison for stealing some Au30 million from his company. On Friday a judge ordered him to pay Au5 million in compensation within two years or face another six year in the slammer.

Was Nadir so dumb to risk spending the last years of his life -- he is 71 - in the nick and not seeing his gorgeous 28-year-old wife Nur? Life in a tiny cultural dump, like north Cyprus, in which Nadir was stuck for 17 years, surrounded by uncouth Anatolian peasants must have been insufferable, but to risk going to prison to escape it, does not seem very smart. Then again... it might not be so stupid either.

ANOTHER candidate for a Darwin award was the 54-year-old actor, who robbed a Tseri co-op bank of which he was a regular customer. He thought a wig, fake moustache, sunglasses and speaking in English would do the trick, but he was recognised by the cashiers, two other co-op employees, an off duty cop and a female bystander outside the bank.

He left with e1/413,000 and was arrested three hours later. Next time, he should seek the services of a better make-up artist, not that a better disguise would have made much difference this time. The Darwin nominee left the scene in his own car, not having bothered to put false number plates on it.

A GLYKIS drinking customer who visited our establishment on Thursday, answered the anguished question we posed last week as to whether the comrade had renounced his communist faith and embraced Catholicism.

His frequent meetings with the Pope had nothing to do with faith, said the customer. The comrade likes to discuss his thoughts and experiences with the Pontiff because they share one God-given quality -- infallibility. The Pope knows how tough it is for those blessed with infallibility to cope with the envy, nastiness and malice of lesser men, said the customer as he wiped dregs of coffee off his tongue.

There are now one hundred and twelve days left of the comrade's infallible rule. We should make the most of the 112 days in which no presidential mistakes will be committed, because, aprE s Tof, le deluge.

Copyright Cyprus Mail 2012

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Publication:Cyprus Mail (Cyprus)
Geographic Code:4EXRU
Date:Nov 4, 2012
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