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Costa del Sol News - 11th December 2008

News from Andalucia & Costa del Sol

News Archive

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The Costa del Sol weekly newspaper, on sale at newsagents.

Week December 11th -

CHRISTMAS SCAMS

By David Eade

FRAUDS on the internet or via your mobile phone are a year-round threat but with the arrival of Christmas, lottery scams truly come to the fore.

In previous years letters were sent out claiming to be from lotteries such as El Gordo, La Primitiva or Euromillions. This year the Nokia Prize Draw seems to be the new favourite, say officials.

One of the scams involves sending text messages advising the recipient of a substantial win on a lottery or promotion draw. The 'winner' is asked to call a telephone number or send an email response. If the victim does so, he or she will receive a pack similar to a 'lottery win letter', in which bank details are requested as well as an advance fee for the delivery of documents.

In recent days other varieties of this fraud have surfaced. One involved the recipient having won holiday vouchers and all she had to do was to pay the courier, after which the scam followed the above lines.

Another sent a text message to Spanish numbers allegedly from the UK but then asked the 'winner' to contact a Spanish phone number to collect a prize.


65 million-euro scam against Brits uncovered

By Oliver McIntyre

TWO PEOPLE were arrested and 20 others named as formal suspects in a major Guardia Civil operation last week against a group that allegedly scammed some 65 million euros from hundreds of Britons by offering investments in bogus real estate development projects.

The Guardia Civil operation, coordinated by the anti-corruption prosecutor and a Fuengirola court, involved raids on six homes or businesses, mostly in Mijas and Fuengirola, and the seizure of documents, computers and other materials.

Guardia Civil officials say the group's modus operandi was to purchase land through companies set up in offshore fiscal paradises, and then transfer the properties to a series of Spanish companies after falsely inflating the value of the properties by more than tenfold. The result was to make the Spanish companies appear to a large amount of capital that they in fact did not.


Roadworks misery

Punta Chullera residents fury over dangerous roadworks

By David Eade

For well over a decade the residents of the Punta Chullera urbanisation close to Manilva's border with San Roque have had to put up with poor roads.

 

However in November 2007 all that seemed to be about to change when Volconsa was contracted by the town hall to build new roads and pavements throughout the urbanisation. Sadly, matters have switched not from bad to worse but, they say, to a disaster.

Residents told the Costa del Sol News of "months of disruption" and how some residents "are not able to drive to their houses and have to park and walk some 500 metres, along unfinished, unlit tracks to get to their front door" and in real fear of electrocution.

Their anger is centred on Manilva's mayor, Antonia Munoz, who they say has not honoured her election promises made last May. The residents state that the contractor, Volconsa, started work, due to have been completed in 10 months, in November 2007, but because of lack of stage payments the contractor withdrew the majority of his workforce leaving just four men working during the summer months. CDSN contacted Volconsa's offices in Málaga, for the company's comments on the situation but they passed the buck to their office in Segovia, which has refused to comment.


Good Samaritans come to rescue of robbed tourists

Hotel guests chipped in a euro each to raise funds to help the British couple

By Oliver McIntyre

HOLIDAYMAKERS have come to the rescue of a British couple who were robbed just as they arrived at their Benalmádena Costa hotel and were left penniless and without passports, credit cards or return tickets.

The couple, both in their 70s, were part of a Thomson tour group that was dropped off at a bus stop near Hotel Arenas at 10pm on Saturday night. As they were walking the 200 metres to the hotel, a thief on a motorbike veered over, grabbed the woman's handbag and sped off.

The shocked couple made their way to the hotel, where the goodwill of other guests and visitors would soon put a small silver lining on their awful experience.

Two women who spend part of the year in Benalmádena and were staying at the hotel heard of the couple's plight and stepped into action.


Controversy deflates disco's free boob-job party

By Oliver McIntyre

FOLLOWING outraged reactions, the Pachá disco in Valencia last week cancelled plans for a party it billed as being "an homage to women" at which the club was to raffle off a free breast-enhancement operation.

The promotional poster for the Pretty Woman party, scheduled for December 5, featured a busty woman using surgical scissors to cut off a post-operative bandage wrapped around her chest.

When the event and the poster were met with harsh criticism from women's organisations and other groups, the club's management defended the idea but added that the gift certificate - which it said was valued at 4,500 euros - could be used for other aesthetic procedures including laser hair removal or botox treatments.

It even changed the promotional poster, replacing the text 'Buy your ticket and take part in a draw for breast enlargement' to 'Draw for aesthetic gift certificate'. But the controversy raged on.


Málaga and Madrid to become a 'single tourist destination'

By Dave Jamieson

THE CITIES of Málaga and Madrid are to launch a joint campaign to boost tourism. The strategy was agreed and signed last Friday by representatives of the two cities and advertising will begin early in the new year.

The arrival and success of the AVE high-speed trains, which have reduced the journey time between the two centres to around two and a half hours, has been the catalyst for the pioneering venture. It will centre on the figure of Picasso to link the cultural attractions available in each city, while also bringing the close proximity of Málaga's sunshine and coast to the attention of Madrileños