Five Men Shot Dead in Suspected Gangland Hit in Ayia Napa
Investigators have released few details at this stage, but confirmed that the BMW was in motion when it was fired upon with the five men inside it. After shots were fired at it, the car collided with a parked car on Katalimaton road behind Ayia Napa Square and came to a stop, said police.
The Cypriots are 35-year-old Paralimni resident Georgios Georgiou, aka Satanas, 33-year-old Nicosia resident Philipos Loukaides and 28-year-old Marios Karaolis from Nicosia. Georgiou was the father of three children.
The two Rumanians - who arrived in Cyprus 10 days ago - have not been identified pending notification of next-of-kin.
During the brutal murders, the driver Georgios Georgiou managed to get out of the vehicle and run a few meters away before he fell and was shot to the head in cold blood. The other four victims were shot to the head and chest, and police have retrieved 14 bullet shells, bullet-proof vests and a computer from inside the car.
There are no suspects yet, said a police spokesman, but the authorities have video from closed circuit cameras covering the street and could identify the murderers with it. Reports that the men were security guards working in Ayia Napa casinos, and that the murders were linked to organised crime and gambling have not been confirmed by authorities.
The five men were bodyguards to a Famagusta businessman, according to news reports.
The crime scene was cordoned off and a manhunt is underway with intensive investigations to track down the killers who may have made a getaway on motorcycles. An eyewitness, a British tourist, has told police where the ambush took place and that a motorcycle was following the car after it left a bar where the victims were just before they were killed.
Former justice minister Nikos Koshis said that it was a gangland war and the murders were to settle scores in the gambling business. Police must infiltrate the underworld gangs to get information, otherwise the authorities will lose the war, he said in comments to SigmaTV. Organised crime already has informers in the police force, he said.
These gangs control not only gambling, but prostitution, drugs, loan sharking and protection rackets, said the former minister.
Current justice minister Loukas Loukas was close-lipped on whether the murders were linked to organised crime, saying that he does have information but it cannot be publicised.
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