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26 June, 2024
 
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Murdered sex worker from Ukraine still unnamed

Key witness in brutal murder of woman from Ukraine detained on pandering prostitution charges

Newsroom

More details have emerged in the brutal murder of a woman from Ukraine, with Cypriot police focusing primarily on a single male suspect while also arresting her female friend, a key witness who says she had booked an extended paid sex appointment for the victim on the night she was killed.

Police said on Tuesday they were still searching for 25-year-old Erkan Alkan, who is wanted for premeditated murder in Limassol following the brutal killing of a woman from Ukraine over the weekend.

The victim, who lived in Larnaca but also worked in Limassol as a prostitute, was found half naked on the floor of a hotel apartment that she used as a cathouse for paid sex with male clients. The body was discovered by a friend who notified the building manager, with the two entering the apartment Sunday morning at 12:50am and finding the woman dead with hands and legs bound with zip ties, badly bruised, gagged, while she had also been strangled.

Alkan, described as a Kurdish asylum seeker, became a prime suspect after police said personal items believed to belong to him were also found in the apartment, along with a phone said to have belonged to the victim.

It was not immediately clear when the request for the sex appointment was made, but reports said time was blocked off for a 3-hour session on Saturday night

It later emerged that investigators believed the suspect was the person behind an online handle used to make a sex appointment with the victim, with reports saying a holster bag and a wrist watch pictured on his profile photo were the same items found in the apartment.

Additional reports said the suspect was thought to have gone to the apartment a second time during the evening in question, but details were not immediately available.

Information appeared to be incomplete also after a key witness in the case, who was involved in the arrangement of the sex rendezvous, was arrested by police.

The female friend, who is also from Ukraine, reportedly told police she had been helping her compatriot by booking her paid sex sessions online, including a request for a 3-hour session on Saturday night.

It was not immediately clear when the request for the appointment was made, but reports said police have collected phones and other pieces of evidence including exchanged text messages.

According to local media, the sex meet-ups were made on the Bazaraki platform through the website’s erotic massage and adult services section, with the woman reportedly saying she would set things up for her friend who would then kickback a €50 flat fee as booking commission regardless of how many appointments were set up on a particular day.

Reports said the sex rendezvous in question was set up through the mobile application WhatsApp for Saturday night after 8pm, for three hours, at a cost of €350.

It also emerged that the friend acted as a go-between in renting the cathouse, with her newly-arrived compatriot giving her €40 to hand over to the building manager to cover rent for the day.

The witness was arrested Monday and remanded in custody for four days on pimping charges, with police accusing her of knowingly profiting from the earnings of a prostitute.

But the woman, who was also the person who identified the body, reportedly told investigators she did not know her actions were illegal.

While prostitution is not illegal in the Republic of Cyprus, the sex industry remains unregulated, with critics saying lack of regulation is dangerous for sex workers who often rely on abusive illegal networks.

A local law still on the books also bans zoning while it makes the running of brothels anywhere unlawful by definition.

The identity of the murder victim has not been released to the public. Officials, who said she did not have immediate family on the island, confirmed reports that the woman had traveled to Cyprus last year on special status after Russian troops invaded Ukraine. Her ethnicity was also not made known while her age, officially said to be 30, was revised to 35 in statements to the media.

Officers have searched the suspect’s home but he never went back, while Cyprus Police said new information suggested Alkan may have fled to another jurisdiction.

TAGS
Cyprus  |  Limassol  |  Ukraine  |  murder  |  prostitution  |  sex industry  |  trafficking  |  crime  |  police  |  Kurdish  |  Erkan Alkan

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