Coast guard officials arrested two suspects after giving chase to a fleeing speedboat on Monday, in connection with the arrival of another boat that carried 131 undocumented migrants to northwestern Cyprus.
Two Syrian men aged 43 and 53 were detained by police on Monday after their speedboat was spotted by coast guard officials, who had already began approaching a vessel carrying 131 presumptive refugees including five women and eight minors.
The two men in the speedboat are being accused of harboring undocumented aliens, while local media said they told police officers they were out fishing in the area
Police said the vessel with undocumented migrants was spotted by radar on Monday morning around 8:35am in Cypriot waters off the coast in Kato Pyrgos, Paphos district.
The boat was towed further west to a local port in Latchi while a second vessel, decroibed as speedboat with two people inside, was also spotted in the area heading towards Akamas.
A coast guard vessel intercepted the path of the speedboat, taking into custody two Syrian nationals.
Police told Knews the two suspects were known to have been residing in Cyprus under legal status while it was not clear whether they had violated any immigration rules at the time of the arrest.
The two men are being accused of harboring undocumented aliens, facing conspiracy as well as aiding and abetting charges. Local media said they have denied the charges, telling police officers they were out fishing in the area.
According to a police report, the 131 refugees were processed at a local station and then transferred to Kokkinotrimithia reception centre in rural Nicosia.
The owner of the speed boat, reportedly a local man from Limassol, is also wanted by police for questioning, according to local media.