NEWS

‘I like to kill men with guns’

Costas Passaris, Greece’s most wanted man who was captured this week, told police yesterday that he likes to kill people carrying guns and that he carried out a large number of armed robberies for fun. Passaris, who was arrested in Bucharest on Tuesday on charges of murdering two employees of a money exchange bureau two days earlier, bragged that he would escape from prison soon. The chief of the Greek police force, Gen. Fotis Nasiakos, and other senior officers flew to Bucharest on Wednesday to interrogate Passaris, 26, as to how he managed to escape from a police escort during a visit to Athens General State Hospital last February (during which he killed two police officers), as well as at least two other murders committed in Greece in the following months before he fled to Romania in mid-September. Passaris was in detention pending trial for a series of robberies when he escaped. One of the subsequent murders concerned the shooting of a clerk at a Public Power Corporation branch in Peristeri, western Athens, and the other that of a Bulgarian prostitute with whom Passaris had had an affair in Athens. If the person I killed is the person you say, the poor man died for nothing. I was aiming for someone else, Passaris said of the Peristeri shooting. I like to kill those who carry guns, because they are determined to kill and be killed, he said. Police believe Passaris thought that the clerk, who chased him after he robbed the branch, was a security guard. The officers told Passaris that they had evidence of his involvement in many robberies in Greece and pressed him to help their investigation. I carried out many robberies and I did so for fun. I don’t remember how many and where they were. In each robbery, I wore the same sneakers and I wore my wristwatch on top of my sleeve, so that it was visible. If you look at the videotapes from the banks you will see which banks I robbed, Passaris replied. The officers told him to assist them so that he could be extradited to Greece, warning that otherwise he would rot in a Romanian dungeon. Apparently not knowing that a woman who was with him on Sunday had given police a full account of the robbery, Passaris replied: They don’t have evidence to convict me here. At most I’ll get a year for weapons possession. In any case, I’ll escape soon. Passaris told the officers that when he escaped in February he had been given a gun by an accomplice at the Athens court complex where the police van stopped to drop off some prisoners before taking him to the hospital for tests. I do not rat on my partners, I won’t tell you anything else, he added. Passaris’s alleged accomplice, Padilla Mioara, a 21-year-old Romanian prostitute, told police that the Greek fugitive had asked her to meet him in central Bucharest. Outside the money exchange bureau he reportedly said to her before going in, Now you’ll see how tough I am. Reports from Bucharest said that Passaris was jailed in a holding facility far from other prisoners because he had been screaming all the time, creating an uproar when he was with the others. Stolen passport. A father and son from Syria who were detained in Newark in the USA just after the September 11 terrorist attacks now face criminal charges: the father for alleged credit card fraud, the son for allegedly using a stolen Greek passport. Authorities have not elaborated on the charges against Ahmad Kilfat, 45, and Mustafa Kilfat, 21. Mustafa Kilfat faces up to 25 years in prison and a $250,000 fine if convicted of using a false passport to facilitate international terrorism. The US Secret Service said a black bag in the men’s car contained a Greek passport with Mustafa Kilfat’s picture bearing the name of Nikolaos Makrakis, a Greek singer. Mustafa Kilfat told agents he bought it for $700 in Greece. Greek authorities confirmed that the passport had been stolen, the Secret Service said. (AP)