News from Andalucia & Costa del Sol
In association with
Week August 8th to August 14th
TAX AUTHORITIES TARGET MARINAS
Properties and businesses in port areas also under investigation
By David Eade
THE MINISTRY OF FINANCE IS CARRYING OUT A CAMPAIGN ALONG SPAIN'S COASTLINE AND ISLANDS TO SEEK OUT CASES OF TAX FRAUD CENTRED ON THE NATION'S MARINAS.
On the Costa del Sol the investigations are being undertaken by the Málaga office of the state tax authority.
Since the end of July, a team of officials comprising an inspector, two deputy inspectors and 20 agents have been visiting ports in the province of Málaga. The on-going investigation of the various apartments and businesses that operate in the leisure port zones along with the establishing of the ownership of the yachts is well underway.
Once the ownership of the properties, businesses and yachts has been confirmed, the data relating to whether they are let, as well as the rental and income, will be cross-referenced with the tax declarations made by those involved.
MOORINGS UNDER SCRUTINY
Under special scrutiny are the yacht moorings in the various ports. The agents are listing every single mooring, establishing the owner, recording the name of the yacht moored there and also taking down the registration number of any visiting car.
The following Málaga marinas are being targeted by the tax investigators: Puerto de la Duquesa (328 moorings), Estepona (445), Puerto Banús (915), Marbella (377), Cabopino (169), La Bajadilla (261), Fuengirola (226), Benalmádena (1,000), Real Club Mediterráneo (40), El Candado (215) and La Caleta (236).
RESTAURANTS AND BARS TO FOLLOW
Tax authorities will extend their investigations to restaurants and bars operating in the port areas. The Director General of the Tax Agency, Salvador Ruiz Gallud, made it clear when presenting the campaign that the tax authorities intended to gain control of all aspects of commercial activity in the leisure ports by building up a cross referenced database on 60,000 people.
THE TRAGEDY OF THE STRAITS
Thirteen immigrants die off Tarifa
By David Eade
THE TRAFFICKING OF PEOPLE FROM NORTH AFRICA AND THE SUB-SAHARA ACROSS THE STRAITS OF GIBRALTAR HAS RECORDED ANOTHER HUMAN TRAGEDY.
On this occasion the Africans were forced to disembark by the boat's owner around 50 metres from the Tarifa shore. Eight are known to have reached the beach in safety but tragically another 13 perished in the attempt.
Agents on a routine Guardia Civil patrol arrived at Barranco Hondo at 08.00. The area is a favourite haunt of anglers but on this occasion the officers saw three bodies floating on the waves. The Guardia Civil summoned assistance from their own force as well as the Red Cross and in the following nine hours a total of 13 bodies were washed ashore.
Washed up on the sands of the Barranco Hondo were five women, one of whom was pregnant. Three of the males, including a young boy, who perished were from the sub-Saharan region whilst another five were identified as being Moroccan. Further east at the isle of Las Palomas seven survivors of the tragedy came ashore all of them women and unharmed. An eighth survivor was taken to hospital in Algeciras.
LOSS OF LIFE
The finding of bodies of illegal immigrants on the beaches of Tarifa has happened before now. The first major tragedy was recorded on November 1, 1988, when 18 Moroccans lost their lives off the beach of Los Lances. The worst loss of life to date occurred on July 5, 1998 when 38 people were drowned in Moroccan waters off the Spanish enclave of Melilla.
ANOTHER BOAT INTERCEPTED
The Guardia Civil intercepted off the coast of Tarifa another boat containing 62 illegal immigrants. The boat was first spotted by a customs patrol at 02.30 two miles east of Cala Arena near Punta Acebuche. The Guardia Civil was able to take all the illegals aboard their patrol boat before adverse weather conditions hit the zone.
MILITARY ON ALERT IN CEUTA AND MELILLA
By David Eade
Spain's Ministry of Defence has instigated two new patrols in the port of Melilla and is also stepping up its vigilance in the nearby enclave of Ceuta. It is understood that similar measures are also be taken in the islands of Chafarinas and Alhucemas plus the rock of Vélez de la Gomera. The Spanish navy has a number of patrol vessels and Corvettes in the area since the invasion of Perejil.
The heightened state of alert came the day after Morocco's Council of Government instituted the mobilization of 'all the forces of the country under the monarch Mohamed VI, to defend the territorial integrity of the kingdom' and to 'liberate' the territories that they consider to be occupied by Spain in the North of Africa.
Speaking during the week the Moroccan monarch said that his country had the "legitimate right" to reclaim the sovereignty of the autonomous regions of Ceuta and Melilla. He also acknowledged that Spain did not wish to negotiate on the issue. King Mohamed VI insisted that the Moroccan government would not cede 'a millimetre of its territory' and that included the disputed island of Perejil.
However, according to official reports everything is normal in both Ceuta and Melilla. The borders between the enclaves and Morocco are open and being crossed without any problem by both Moroccans and Spaniards. The former are visiting the enclaves to shop and the latter are heading for the Moroccan beaches.
INAUGURATED BUT NOT OPEN
The A-7 motorway should be ready for mid August
By David Eade
AS REPORTED IN LAST WEEK'S CDSN THE NEW ESTEPONA TO GUADIARO STRETCH OF DUAL CARRIAGEWAY OF THE N-340, PLUS THE NEW TOLL MOTORWAY BETWEEN THE SAME TOWNS, HAS BEEN INAUGURATED BY THE MINISTER OF PUBLIC WORKS FRANCISCO ÁLVAREZ CASCOS.
However as also reported in last week's edition although the N-340 was opened to traffic, the toll motorway has yet to be completed.
The N-340 between Estepona and Guadiaro has in recent years become one of the most dangerous stretches of road in Spain. Also huge traffic tailbacks were a regular occurrence during the peak summer months. The worst delays were in the immediate days before the inauguration as work crews laboured around the clock to get the new stretch of road ready in time.
It is estimated that depending on the time of year between 50,000 and 100,000 vehicles use the N-340 between Estepona and Guadiaro on a daily basis. Although the final touches such as pedestrian bridges have still to be completed the traffic flow has been delay free in the first week since the official opening.
The A-7 toll motorway was inaugurated at the same time as the N-340 but it was quite clear that the road would not be open to traffic as parts of the road and some tunnels had yet to be completed. Officials blamed the delay on the fact that all efforts were made to open the N-340 dual carriageway first. The A-7 is now scheduled to open in the middle of August when the toll rates will also be announced.
DUAL CARRIAGEWAY TO BE EXTENDED
It has been announced that the government is willing to fund the doubling of the entire N-340 including the sections between Conil -Vejer and Vejer - Algeciras. Central government says it will immediately authorise the works once regional government pays over the money it advanced to fund the Jerez - Los Barrios dual carriageway. President of regional government, Manuel Chaves, had indicated he would accept the offer.
SPECTACULAR CHASE BETWEEN TORREMOLINOS AND MALAGA
Local police in Torremolinos were involved in a spectacular high-speed car chase, which ended in Málaga after a woman tourist had her bag snatched. Police were summoned at 09.00 to the Calle Loma del Colegial where the woman's bag was stolen by a man accompanied by three other people in a vehicle. The woman resisted the attack and suffered light injuries.
The four men raced off in a red car, ignored the signals to stop of the local police and sped at high speed towards Málaga. In the course of their bid to escape the thieves' car collided with a number of other vehicles. Finally the police stopped them in the Avenida de Velázquez in Málaga. The car was found to have been stolen previously from Sevilla and its number plates changed.
SPECIAL POLICE UNIT IN MARBELLA TO HELP TOURISTS
Official reports will be translated and the legal system explained
By David Eade
THE POPULATION OF MARBELLA TREBLES IN THE MONTH OF AUGUST. THIS LARGE INFLUX OF VISITORS ATTRACTS A NUMBER OF CRIMINALS TO FREQUENT THE RESORT WITH FOREIGNERS BEING A SPECIAL TARGET FOR THE MUGGERS AND THIEVES.
Up to now, foreigners unfortunate enough to be the victims have had to make the official report to the police in Spanish. Not any more for now the local police in conjunction with the tourist office have set up a special squad to tackle crime on foreign visitors. The force of 10 officers will be based at the town's main foreign residents department in the Plaza de los Naranjos. Any foreigner will be able to report any crimes there without having to travel to police headquarters.
Amongst the services, this new police unit will help the victim to complete and translate the official report forms. In addition, the Spanish legal system will be explained. The new office will also help the victims contact their country's consulate, cancel their stolen credit cards or travellers cheques and report the thefts to their insurance company.
Since the announcement, the Consular Corps in Málaga has reacted favourably to the setting up of this new squad to help crime victims or those needing help or assistance in Marbella. The corps has indicated that it will collaborate fully with this initiative, which it believes will offer a very positive benefit to the foreign residents and visitors.
RIO VERDE WATER FOR FUENGIROLA
Fuengirola is set to receive water from the La Concepción dam on the rio Verde. The supply was approved after an accord was signed between the association of town halls of the western Costa del Sol, Fuengirola Town Hall and the water company Gestagua which will also permit the resort to make use of certain water aquifers.
As a result of this agreement, the public water company Acosol will reduce the price of water supplied to Fuengirola by eight per cent bringing it down to 0.17 euros per cubic litre. In addition, the sum of 108,182 euros would be invested by Gestagua in improving the water supply network in Fuengirola. With regard to the use of the aquifers the town's Mayoress, Esperanza Oña, insists they will only be used in an emergency.