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Police informant with links to mafia killed in Naples

Latest update : 2008-06-02

A businessman who had been tipping the police on the crime ring that operates the waste disposal racket in Naples was shot on Sunday in what looks like a mafia hit. Naples is still grappling with piles of uncollected trash. A.Masciarelli reports.

NAPLES - An Italian businessman who was helping police break organised crime gangs that operate waste disposal rackets in Naples was gunned down on Sunday in an apparent mafia hit, police said.

The latest killing in the southern Italian city, which in recent months has become as famous for its piles of trash as for its reputation for crime, came on a day that thousands of people attended a rally against plans to open new rubbish dumps.

Police said Michele Orsi, a businessman with mafia links who had turned informant, was shot three times near his home by assailants who were lying in wait.

Orsi, who worked in the waste disposal business, had spent time in jail last year during an investigation into mafia involvement in the trade. He turned informant and gave evidence against a suspect at a court hearing two weeks ago.

"The case is even more serious than previous ones. This was a businessman from the Caserta area (of Naples) who, although he had colluded with organised crime, was helping investigations," said anti-mafia investigator Franco Roberti.

Crime experts say the Camorra, the Naples mafia, has been involved in the lucrative waste dumping business for decades -- one of the reasons the city's refuse system ground to a halt at the end of last year when all official dumps were declared full.

Political inadequacy and local opposition to new waste disposal sites has hampered years of attempts to clean up what has become a chronic problem in Italy's third largest city.

Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's new conservative government, which campaigned in April's election promising to clean up Naples' trash crisis, has vowed to force open new trash dumps and face down local opposition with the army if necessary.

Some 10,000 protestors held a peaceful rally on Sunday outside the site of one of the new dumps, some shouting: "Berlusconi dictator".
 

Date created : 2008-06-02

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