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Betting Shop Owner Murdered in Nicosia

A 45-year-old betting shop owner was murdered in Nicosia early this morning, near the Agios Antonios market, said police. Two men on a powerful motorcycle opened fire on the victim at dawn, critically injuring him and two other men aged 40 and 42 who were with him.

All three were taken to hospital and the victim, Neophytos Christoforou, was taken into surgery but did not survive. The men with him were treated for superficial wounds, according to the police report.

The motorcycle was found not far from the University of Cyprus and police spokesman Andreas Angelides said it was one that was stolen last February.

Several people have been taken into custody for questioning, said the spokesman.

A number of computers have been taken from the betting shop as part of the murder investigation, along with 3,500 euros, according to police.

Contract killings over gambling debts and betting shop robberies have become more frequent as more and more sports gambling and street casinos spring up like mushrooms around the island. Many of them operate illegally and Angelides said that the betting shop in question had been under investigation along with another three establishments.

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