A reputed Kyrgyz underworld leader has managed to flee the country under an assumed name even though he may be a suspect in a recent high-profile slaying, "Vechernii Bishkek" reported on 25 May. Numerous reports have listed Ryspek Akmatbaev, an alleged figure in the world of Kyrgyz organized crime, as a possible suspect in the 5 May killing of top anticorruption official Chynybek Aliev. According to the newspaper, Akmatbaev has managed to leave the country under the name Osmon Rayov and is currently in Russia, where he intends to undergo plastic surgery to change his appearance. The newspaper also reported that the Interior Ministry has detained seven members of Akmatbaev's group. Not everyone agrees that Akmatbaev is the leading suspect in Aliev's murder, however. "Moya stolitsa-novosti" claimed on 14 May that Aliev, who was tasked with fighting official corruption, may have been on the trail of a dishonest high-level politician who decided to have the troublesome crime-fighter eliminated.
Vechernyi Bishkek, May 25, 2004