Authorities appear determined to crack down on Cyprus property timeshare touts, in a bid to stamp out the soliciting of customers, which is believed to have an adverse impact on tourism.
On Sunday alone, 16 touts were reported in Paphos, as part of a police campaign to discourage the practice. A number of plain-clothes and uniformed officers have been placed on duty, patrolling Paphos’ tourist area.
By law, soliciting is illegal, but in a cat-and-mouse game with the police, touts are coming up with new and imaginative ways of clocking new customers. One is to sell scratch cards to passers-by. If a person wins, he or she is visited at home by a salesperson with the supposed prize.
Paphos police superintendent Lambros Themistocleous has said that the force has asked the Attorney-general’s advice on enacting legislation that would also make the sale of these scratch cards illegal.
Another tool in the hands of authorities would be to introduce stiffer fines for soliciting, as at present the penalties provided by law are not prohibitive.
For his part, the chairman of the Paphos Chamber of Commerce Kyriacos Droushiotis said that at a meeting held last November, the four timeshare companies active in the coastal town had promised to stop the sale of scratch cards or harass prospective Cyprus property buyers.
The companies were given a grace period by which to comply, but Droushiotis seemed to suggest that their time was up.
He also said a bill with tougher provisions on soliciting would soon be submitted to parliament by the Justice Minister.
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