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The end of the underworld is nigh -- Anastasiades.

President Nicos Anastasiades expressed his determination to stamp out corruption in the police force and warned the underworld that its end was nigh.

"It is a shame that a minority of corrupt policemen discredit an entire force, which has so many successes to show, and create the wrong impression about honest officers," Anastasiades told the state broadcaster.

He also warned the underworld to realise that its end was near.

Corruption in the wider public sector, but mainly in the police, is one of the matters the president will be dealing with after his summer holidays.

Anastasiades said the contribution of political parties was important in enacting legislation to tackle the problem.

The president's statement followed the killing, in June, of businessman Phanos Kalopsidiotis and a police officer and his wife, who were dining with him at an Ayia Napa restaurant.

A shooter also died in the incident while a second police officer, also at the dinner, was seriously injured.

To compound matters, it was reported that the hitmen had been tipped off mistakenly by a Cypriot policeman who thought he was calling Interpol in Serbia which had sent Cyprus police information about a planned hit in April this year.

This led the assassins to call off the killing until June.

The debacle has raised the issue of police ties to organised crime on the island.

Observers say underworld bosses in Cyprus had gained enormous economic power to the point where they are able to present themselves as 'eminent businessmen' who are often valued contributors to political parties and 'valuable allies' of the police in obtaining information.

They control nightlife, illegal betting, prostitution, drug trafficking, protection rackets, and sex trafficking, and through money laundering are able to present themselves as honest and decent citizens who in some cases are involved in charitable works.

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Publication:Cyprus Mail (Cyprus)
Date:Aug 16, 2016
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