Sunday, June 30, 2013

Cyprus: Crimes Reported in Paphos, Update on Security Threats

According to http://www.incyprus.com.cy, a British expat living in Paphos was burglarized at his home in the District this week while he was out, which resulted in the loss of €3,500 (US$4,552) in electronics (including an iPad) and cash. The burglars reportedly broke into the expat's home through a toilet window.

Additionally, a resident of Paphos, 67, reported to police that his truck was stolen with 470 liters of oil (125 gallons) from the tourist area of Yeroskipou, which is also located just miles from Paphos.

COMMENT: I first lived in Cyprus during 1975-77 and returned in the late 90s for a three-year assignment. That being said, Cyprus today is much, much different.

In the Cyprus of today, most crime involves the theft of property, although it can be said that burglary is a common occurrence, particularly from expat residents and wealthy Cypriots.

One crime that is on the rise, without explanation, is the sexual assault and rape of foreign tourists. This type of crime doesn't occur frequently, but seems to be focused on late-night nightclub encounters. 

Single women are urged to drink in moderation and travel in groups. "Date-rape" drugs are regularly used by predators to immobilize their victims. Thus, patrons should watch the preparation of their drinks carefully and not leave their drinks unattended.

It should also be noted that Russian organized crime has worked its way into Cyprus in recent years and has rendered human trafficking, money laundering and prostitution into literal art-forms. It is commonplace for Russians to spend millions in purchasing real estate in order to launder ill-gotten profits.

Another facet that has changed is Cyprus' huge deficit and need for a bailout, which most recently has resulted in Cypriot banks controlling the amount of cash that can be withdrawn.

It is strongly recommended that visitors to the island verify in advance what form of payment hotels and restaurants will accept and plan accordingly. Additionally, most foreign banks place manageable limitations on cash or ATM withdrawals, although Cypriot-owned banks DO.

It is essential that you declare cash brought into Cyprus so that you can exit with it. You are permitted to exit Cyprus with no more than 3,000 euros, so it is essential that you declare upon arrival greater amounts.