News from Andalucia & Costa del Sol
In association with
Week May 15th to May 21st 2003.
BRIT FUGITIVES HEAD FOR THE COSTA
UK murder suspects believed to be in Spain
By Tom Caine
BRITISH POLICE INVESTIGATING THE MURDER OF INDIAN TYCOON AMARJIT CHOHAN HAVE CALLED IN INTERPOL AFTER FINDING EVIDENCE INDICATING THE TWO SUSPECTED KILLERS ARE HEADING FOR THE COSTAS.
Ken Regan, 54, and William Horncy, 51, are the prime suspects in the murder of Mr Chohan, whose body was found floating in the sea near Bournemouth on April 22. Police are also concerned over the whereabouts of the Chohan family, who went missing in February and have still not been found. Following the discovery of Mr Chohan's body, police centred their inquiries on a field in Tiverton, Devon, but an extensive search and excavation failed to find the missing family, although certain items were recovered that support police theories.
UK detectives say Mr Regan and Mr Horncy, who are both extremely dangerous, are known to have travelled to France using false identities and every indication is that they are heading for Spain, where the fugitives believe they will be safe from extradition. Mr Horncy is known to use the alias William Smith and Mr Regan also uses the name Ken Avery.
A third man, Peter Douglas Reece, 38, also wanted in connection with the case, has disappeared, but police believe he is still in the UK.
Detective Chief Inspector Norman McKinlay said Mr Reece had links to the Hampshire and Dorset areas where Mr Horncy comes from, and Mr Regan had been working for Mr Chohan for the past year.
UK police advise anybody who thinks they know the whereabouts of Mr Regan and Mr Horncy to contact Crime Stoppers tel: 0044 800 555 111, or the incident room on 0044 208 247 7821; on no account should they be approached.
CUDECA GIVES MAYOR TOUR OF NEW FACILITIES
New additions include seven rooms for in-patient care
By Oliver McIntyre
THE CUDECA FOUNDATION, A LOCAL NGO THAT PROVIDES CARE FOR TERMINALLY ILL CANCER PATIENTS, HOSTED BENALMÁDENA MAYOR ENRIQUE BOLÍN LAST WEEK FOR A TOUR OF THE LATEST ADDITION TO THE FOUNDATION'S ARROYO DE LA MIEL CENTRE.
The new addition includes areas for patient treatment, including seven rooms that will house 12 beds for in-patient care, as well as a kitchen for the preparation of patient meals. Cudeca staff members showed the Mayor and his team the recently completed construction work on the new facilities, explaining that the foundation now needs to raise funds to outfit the new areas with the necessary equipment and furniture. According to Cudeca's medical director, Dr Marisa Martín, the timeline for bringing the new patient-care facilities on line depends largely on how much money Cudeca can raise, and how quickly, but the group hopes to have the in-patient care unit up and running by 2004.
HARD WORK REPAID
Since 1992, when the organisation was founded by its current president, Joan Hunt, it has supported its programmes by raising money through fundraising events and direct donations from private individuals and organisations. In 2000 it opened its current centre in Arroyo de la Miel, on land donated to the foundation by Benalmádena Town Hall. At his visit last week, Mayor Bolín described the centre as 'the result of a lot of good people doing a lot of hard work', noting that he was 'very satisfied that the Town Hall has been able to help further the foundation's humanitarian efforts'. Cudeca is currently providing in-home assistance to 135 cancer patients. The organisation has 27 staff members and hundreds of volunteers. A Cudeca spokesperson told Costa del Sol News that foreign residents - mostly British - make up around 90 per cent of the foundation's volunteer force. There are also five Britons on the organisation's staff.
ARMED ROBBERY GANG ARRESTED IN COÍN
Two minors amongst the eight suspects
By Oliver McIntyre
Guardia Civil officers in Coín have arrested eight individuals suspected as members of a gang of armed robbers that committed hold-ups in the Guadalhorce area and in the city of Málaga. The arrests came after 11 months of investigation, beginning last June when the gang allegedly held up a couple at gunpoint in the parking lot of Málaga's Plaza Mayor entertainment centre. The gang stole the couple's brand new Suzuki motorcycle, which police say the group later used in a bank robbery in Cártama on April 22, in which the thieves made off with 14,270 euros. In the Cártama bank heist, the robbers hid their faces behind motorcycle helmets and ski masks, and threatened bank employees and customers with a pistol.
In making the arrests, the police searched the homes of the suspects and seized three handguns, a car, and clothing items believed to have been used in the robberies, including ski masks, motorcycle helmets and gloves. Six of the arrested suspects are adults aged between 18 and 50, and two are minors.
MAJOR BEACH RECOVERY PROGRAMME UNDERWAY
Nerja is first resort to benefit from unprecedented activity
By Dave Jamieson
A major new project to regenerate Málaga's beaches began in Nerja last week. The plan, aimed at replacing sand washed away during severe spring weather, has been put in place by the Ministry of the Environment, and entails moving a million square metres of sand at a cost of over 10 million euros.
The beaches of La Torrecilla and El Playazo in Nerja were first to benefit, with Torrox, Algarrobo and Torre del Mar to follow. The project will cover a total of 31 beaches in 14 municipalities. In addition, the councillor for Beaches in Vélez-Málaga has asked for the scheme to be extended to include his town's Lagos and Mezquitilla beaches.
In an operation of unprecedented scale on Spanish coasts, four boats have been contracted to dredge sand from eight of the province's ports, where entrances have become silted up and difficult for vessels to enter. Each boat is capable of carrying 20,000 tons of sand, which is then transferred to lorries for transportation to the beaches.
PROTEST IMMINENT AT VÉLEZ PORT
Fears of an end to fishing activity at Caleta
By Dave Jamieson
FISHERMEN AND BOAT OWNERS AT CALETA DE VÉLEZ HAVE THREATENED TO BLOCKADE THE PORT.
The protestors disagree with work presently being carried out to construct a breakwater 20 metres wide in an attempt to calm water in the port area, saying that it will create a dangerous channel of entry for vessels. They also point out that larger vessels will be unable to enter the port for shelter at times of stormy weather.
The Andalucía Ports Public Authority, which is carrying out the work, has refused to amend the plans, prompting the threat of action. Workers at the port have also complained about the state of the market area, and what they allege to be discrimination against them by the port's management, which they say favours those using the port facilities for leisure and sporting activities.
FISHING BOATS THREATENED
Francisco Pastor, a representative of boat owners at Caleta, went so far as to suggest that the director, José Luis Gámez, intends to close the port to fishing boats. He also complained that thefts from fishermen's premises on the portside have been ignored by the management, while the leisure port area is patrolled by security guards.
Rafael Campos, speaking for the fishermen, said that they had waited a long time for investment in Caleta port, which he says needs an additional 250 metres of piers for additional moorings in order to meet demand. The port presently is home to about 100 fishing boats, which have an annual turnover of approximately 7.2 million euros.
THE 'QUEEN OF THE NIGHT' FLEES TO PARIS
Marbella club owner Oliva Valere leaves after kidnap attempt
By David Eade
PARISIAN OLIVIA VALERE, MARBELLA CLUB OWNER AND HIGH-SOCIETY FIXTURE, HAS PACKED HER BAGS AND FLED TO HER NATIVE CITY AFTER POLICE FOILED AN ATTEMPT TO KIDNAP HER.
Ms Valere fled after police in Málaga arrested five members of an international gang that allegedly intended to kidnap her. The police acted after a 27-year-old male employee of Valere was attacked in his home in Málaga. According to police, two members of the gang fired at the entrance of his dwelling, causing serious damage.
The employee, RFJ, told police the two men had threatened to kidnap him and kill his family if he did not give them information about Olivia Valere. According to the police, the two men, along with their alleged co-conspirators, intended to use that information to kidnap the 'Queen of the Night' and then to demand a ransom for her release.
NOT A JOKE
Before she left Marbella, Ms Valere said that she initially thought the whole thing was a joke and had quipped that her husband would pay the kidnappers double to keep her. Then her lawyer spoke to the police and learned the kidnapping attempt had been true. Ms Valere stated that she couldn't understand why the gang had decided to kidnap her, as there were many people who had much more money, but perhaps it was because she was famous.
Ms Valere owns the luxury discothèque in Marbella that bears her name. She is a friend and confidante of the many jet setters, millionaires and famous people who visit her well-known establishment on the Istán Road, which is situated close to King Fahd's palace. It is believed she'll remain in Paris until the end of the month.
FREE INTERNET PLAN FOR MARBELLA
News Staff Reporter
Marbella Town Hall has unveiled a plan to bring free Internet access to the municipality. The local authority is studying a plan to set up a network that will provide free, wireless access to the broadband network.
The initial study is being carried out by the company Nostracom, which indicates that 10,000 Marbella families could benefit from the system within the next four years. It is hoped that the initial phases of the network will be set up within the next six months.
The president of Nostracom, Antonio Tejada, stated that the system would not require a telephone line, the connection would operate 24 hours a day on a fixed tariff, and access would be five times faster than the best currently on offer. He also stressed that the visual and environmental impact of the scheme would be minimal thanks to the use of radio waves.
It is envisaged that there would be more than 35 access points in 16 municipal districts from Las Chapas to San Pedro. The cost of the project is estimated at 1.8 million euros. The mayor of Marbella, Julián Muñoz, said that Marbella would be the first town in Spain to benefit from this type of high-tech system to provide free Internet access to schools, as well as private and public organisations.
TORREMOLINOS BOTANICAL GARDEN OPEN TO PUBLIC
Mayor opened new park despite protests of political timing
By Oliver McIntyre
LAST WEEKEND SAW THE OFFICIAL OPENING OF TORREMOLINOS' NEW MOLINO DE INCA BOTANICAL GARDEN, A 40,000-SQUARE-METRE PARK LOCATED AT THE SOURCE OF THE MUNICIPALITY'S NATURAL SPRINGS, WHICH HAVE BEEN PUT TO USE TO RECREATE THE FAMOUS ANCIENT MILLS THAT GAVE THE TOWN ITS NAME.
Mayor Pedro Fernández Montes had planned a big inaugural celebration, including a 'popular paella' for 700 people, but was forced to make the opening a low-key affair after the area's Electoral Board banned the official ceremony because of its potential pre-election political benefit to the Mayor.
Despite the fact that there were no official ribbon-cutting ceremonies or public paella feasts, the park opened to the public on Saturday, as the culmination of four years of work and 500,000 euros of public investment. Part of that budget went toward the recreation of a 15th-century flour mill, which required the construction of a 50,000-cubic-metre water reservoir. The mill turned out its first sack of flour during Saturday's toned-down opening of the facilities.
In addition to the mill replica, the botanical gardens include a stream created from the flow of one of the natural springs on the site, as well as a series of ponds with aquatic plants and a variety of fish and bird species. The gardens also contain 150 palm trees representing 50 different varieties, 300 other trees consisting of 60 different types, and some 400 other plants and shrubs. The park's natural springs provide running water for a series of canals, waterfalls and fountains. A spokesperson for the Town Hall described the park as "a new public space that brings together natural beauty, high botanical value, and historic interest."
Tourists in Mijas have a new source of information about all the activities and entertainment options in the town and its surrounding areas. Mayor Augustín Moreno Muñoz last week joined representatives from the Costa del Sol Tourism Board, the provincial government, and the Junta de Andalucía's Tourism Department for the official inauguration of the new 'Oficina de Turismo' in Mijas Pueblo. According to Town Hall figures, Mijas was the most-visited town in the province of Málaga last year, with 1.4 million visitors. Officials expect the new 150,000-euro information office to help the town's tourists make the most of their visit.