On the 26th March 2017, Maltawinds had featured an article called ‘Local police seeking help of foreign counterparts in bid to resolve organised crime bomb explosions’. This article was based on a research into gang-related crimes. From the crime reports issued by the Malta Police, the Bugibba/St Paul’s Bay/Qawra conurbation was identified as one of the principal hubs lending itself to the development of gangs, constituted of foreign nationals, who lend themselves to criminal activity.
In the article, the police had been encouraged to investigate this concept further based on additional information which the police have at their disposal and which would provide an even more clear and realistic picture of the reality of this situation which has developed in Malta in recent years.
Last Tuesday evening a very bad fight ensued in Bugibba Square involving gangs. Two men were seriously injuries. During the fight, street bollards were taken up and used as weapons together with a number of chairs from the surrounding bars and restaurants. This led to a frightening and chaotic situation in Bugibba Square which is the main recreational hub with a concentration of commercial and catering outlets.
It is worrying to note that the police do not seem to be taking any action in this regard and that nothing much is being done to counter these gangs’ influence which are slowly spreading into the larger localities. The recent engagement of several former police officers with a criminal record back into the force also creates concern.
Rightfully so, the Malta Hotels and Restaurant Association expressed its grave concerns regarding this incident because such incidents mar the good reputation of Malta as a safe holiday destination. This reputation has taken years to build and efforts were made by many to protect it since our tourism industry depends on it, together with the livelihood of many. MHRA also complained that the police took long to arrive and, during that time, the street fight had got much worse and escalated.
Again we urge the Police Corps to look into this phenomenon of gangs and to address this problem before it grows out of hand and the Bugibba area becomes a no-go zone.