Three months after a joint police operation to shut down illegal gambling dens in the mixed community village of Pile, locals are concerned that illegal gambling operations have re-emerged.
Co-Chair of the bi-communal Committee on Crime, Celal Önen said “unfortunately, neither the Turkish nor Greek Cypriot authorities can act alone. This is the fundamental problem.”
Referring to the joint police operation in November 2016, he said, “The Greek Cypriot authorities did not accept the fact that this was a bi-communal operation.” He noted that both sides’ security forces should be free from political restraints and be able to form a comprehensive alliance to prevent illegal activities being carried out throughout Cyprus.
Last November, 47 people were taken into custody over illegal gambling operations in Pile. The sting was carried out by both communities’ police, under UN surveillance.
Eight clubs purporting to be internet and cafe bars were raided. However, the Greek Cypriot police completely reject the term “co-operation”, claiming that they had formed no alliance with TRNC security forces, despite the fact that Önen says that they had worked together on the sting for months.
There must be co-operation between the two communal police forces, otherwise criminals take full advantage of the political situation, he said.