A man has been arrested in Paphos after the local council in Chloraka filed a complaint for illegal tapping of water supply at a controversial apartment complex where hundreds of refugees have been asked to leave.
According to PafosPress, the Chloraka council filed a complaint with police on Monday alleging a breach of water supply at the Saint Nicholas apartment complex, whose 70-year-old owner has been at odds with local officials over technicalities.
Police on Wednesday told Knews a 50-year-old male was handcuffed earlier this week after a court warrant was issued for felony conspiracy and water theft but declined to comment whether additional arrests were pending.
Local media said the owner and a manager of the company running the complex were wanted for questioning after local council officials inspected the premises and determined there was a breach in the water supply system.
Syrian refugees at the water-deprived Saint Nicholas apartments have been living without running water after the local council shut down supply citing hygiene reasons. Some have been transported by state authorities to migrant camps and deportation facilities while others including familes stayed behind, refusing to leave.
The property owners have been rejecting claims by authorities and have called on state and local officials to list any terms and conditions to resolve the water problem once and for all
The studio complex has been the center of controversy in the area after locals complained that asylum seekers were living in the area in great numbers that constituted a demographic change, with reports in the media at times alluding to tensions in the area.
In early 2020, Interior Minister Nikos Nouris defended a government policy to round up asylum seekers, saying they should remain at a specific location but he stopped short of describing it as detention.
Later that year an interior ministry decree in December 2020 was issued prohibiting any new foreigners from settling in the area, citing demographic changes while in November 2021 Paphos’ district officer issued a ban on the property citing concerns over the quality of water supplied through weekly tanker deliveries.
The property owners have been rejecting claims by authorities and have called on state and local officials to list any terms and conditions to resolve the water problem once and for all.
Last weekend Paphos mayor Phedonas Phedonos issued an open invitation to war-fleeing Ukrainians of Greek descent to settle in his town under a new master plan, saying they would be “more educated and cultured compared to anyone else who ends up in Cyprus as a refugee.”
The mayor said under a new master plan for a specific area within the city of Paphos there would be 1200 new homes for 5000 new inhabitants, saying a proposal had been presented to the interior ministry three and a half years ago.
Earlier this year local media said a Greek construction company landed a €4 million contract with the Cypriot government after bidding on a breakwater project to spruce up the beach line between two hotels in Chloraka.
A local coastal engineer has warned against the project, citing safety concerns and fears over drowning incidents.
But Chloraka leader Nicholas Liasides supported the project saying efforts in the past ten years had been geared towards upgrading the local tourism product.