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These stories were published Thursday, Dec. 23, 2004, in Vol. 4, No. 254
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Hermosa man pretended to be star guitarist
By Bryan Kay
Special to A.M. Costa Rica

The Hermosa man who last year claimed to be former Manfred Mann guitarist Dave Flett caught up in the Villalobos collapse is not who he said he is.

Then living in Costa Rica, the man said his name was Dave Flett and that he had played as a session musician with the popular 1970s band, which had a No. 1 hit in the British charts with "Blinded by the Light".

The real Dave Flett, 53, who leads a private life away from the limelight in Florida, has emerged to contradict the Hermosa man's story. 

The Florida Flett, who is Scottish, did play with Manfred Mann in the 70s,  but also joined Thin Lizzy towards the end of the decade for parts of the band’s world tour.

Early last year, speaking to A.M. Costa Rica, the man who claimed to be Dave Flett said he was a 70s rock star caught up in the Villalobos Brothers’ investment collapse.

He said he had invested $80,000 with the venture and was then struck with another blow when his musical and video-making equipment were stolen from his home in Hermosa. His friends in the Jacó and Hermosa area corroborated his theft claims.

It is unclear whether his real name is David Flett, or if he has a different name.

When interviewed by A.M. Costa Rica, the Hermosa man spoke with a Scottish accent and said he was originally from Aberdeen but had lived in London, the United States and Canada.

At that time, he said he was about to leave Costa Rica to rejoin his family in his wife's native country, Canada. He said he was moving to Regina, Saskatchewan, to live with his wife's parents and to re-build his life after his spate of bad luck. He also had battled cancer, he said.

After his story appeared, readers' letters poured in expressing sympathy.

But over 18 months later, and after a chance discovery on the Internet, the rock musician Dave Flett has moved to distance himself from the man's story and any connection with Costa Rica and the Villalobos operation. Flett was interviewed extensively during a recent visit to Scotland and produced overwhelming evidence of his identity.

"It all started when I got a message on my pager a couple of years ago saying there was someone in Costa Rica pretending to be me. The voice said I should get down there to fix the situation out," the Florida Flett said.

"I thought it was just some friends playing a trick on me because I know a few people who go fishing in Costa Rica quite a lot.

"I decided to call back anyway, and I left a message on an answering machine. I said this is the real Dave Flett and that whoever this person is impersonating me must be sad if all they have to do is pretend to be me.

"I didn't think anything more about it until my wife stumbled upon an article on the Internet about this guy, where he was saying he was the victim of some fraud investment scheme, and said he was a member of Manfred Mann."

Flett, now working as a mental health therapist in Florida, doesn't want his name and past associated with Costa Rica, a country he has never visited, and an investment scheme he 

The man who would be the famous Flett
. . . from the jacket of his album


The
real
David
Flett, holding  a disc awarded for the sale of 250,000
copies  of 'Davy's on the Road Again'
in the
United Kingdom

had never heard of until he read the story on the Internet.

"I mean if this guy is going around pretending to be me, he must really be a little sad. I was with Manfred for a few years and I toured Japan and the USA with Thin Lizzy," Flett continued.

"It is interesting that he didn't mention I had been with Thin Lizzy, which is a better claim to fame than saying you were with Manfred Mann. He could just about get away with making the claims about being with Manfred because it is far enough in the past that not many people will remember certain details.

"I have never been to Costa Rica, and I have never lived in Canada. I have lived in Florida for 16 years. and before that I was living in London. I am quite a private guy and like the quiet life. I don't need this kind of hassle and it just isn't good, someone going around claiming to be someone he's not.

"I think it just might be that this guy has been among a group of friends down there in Costa Rica. Someone has said, you know, there was a Dave Flett who was once with Manfred Mann, that band who were good in the 1970s. He's then agreed that it was him and before he knew it, it was too late to turn back."

Attempts to trace the Hermosa man in Canada and the Pacific coast area have so far failed. 

While here, the Hermosa Flett came out with at least one album of songs, many of them about Costa Rica.

Bryan Kay, a former A.M. Costa Rica intern, is a newspaperman in Scotland.

 
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Zapote bulls given
a one-day respite

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The bulls got a break Wednesday. Ministerio de Salud officials put the brakes on the tradition bull baiting that was supposed to start at 3 p.m.

The reason given was that contractors who erected a new bull ring at the site in Zapote did not also build a small room for police officers.

Health officials already had given approval to the ring. The concern over the quarters for police did not stop the opening of the Festejo Popular Wednesday night. Rides, food stands and other attractions were given a green light.

The bull baiting is expected to resume today. A hundred or more provisional bullfighters will get in a ring with a single bull and run around trying to avoid the confused animal.

The festival in Zapote east of San José goes on until Jan. 3.

The Fuerza Pública said it was stationing an average of 700 officers at the festival to provide security for attendees. Police also will be using five cameras in conjunction with Radiográfica Costarricense S. A. to keep an eye on festival activities. This is the second year that cameras will be used.

Asian kidnap ring
triggers four arrests

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Four people who have been investigated for a series of abductions of Asians were arrested Tuesday night and in the early hours of Wednesday by officials from the Judicial Investigating Organization. 

Three men and a woman, all of Asian descent, are suspected to be the leaders of a gang of abductors. They were arrested in casinos and restaurants in San José and Alajuela.  The investigation that led to these arrests began in March when an Asian man was abducted from the restaurant Los Gamelos in Alto de Guadalupe. 

Arrests have been made in connection with this abduction, but officials have said that there may be other cases that have not been resolved. Typically Asian abductees do not file police reports.

There have been eight abductions of Asians this year. Officials are also investigating abductions that date back to 2002 that share similar characteristics. 

Prisoners will get
international phones

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Following a request made by the Defensoria de los Habitantes, the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad will be installing the 116 international collect call service to public telephones for prisoners in Costa Rican jails. The service will be available for inmates from the beginning of January. 

The Defensoria said that this is the only way that inmates would be able to communicate with family members. This is especially true for foreign inmates who do not have family in Costa Rica. 

"It is important that ICE, re-establishes this service as the telephone cards available don’t allow the prisoner to call outside of this country," said José Manuel Echandi, the defensor de los habitantes.  He also said that it should be remembered that although a person may be in prison he or she still has fundamental human rights. 

Four face drug charges
on shipments north

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Anti-drug investigators have arrested four men as suspects in the shipment of cocaine into the United States and Canada. Three persons were arrested Wednesday.

Officials said that an Canadian-Iraqi, Jousif Dlaymi, 43, was the leader of the drug ring.

The ring is suspect of smuggling cocaine into North America by hiding it in books, sculptures and various boxes. The investigation started with the seizure of some 11 kilos of cocaine by police in Memphis, Tenn., officials here said. Toronto was another destination point for the gang, said agents from the Policía de Control de Drogas.

The Memphis air cargo shipment was traced back to Guanacaste.

Also arrested Wednesday were two Costa Ricans, identified by their last names and ages as Gómez Calderón, 36, and Jiménez Barberena, 29.

Dlaymi was arrested at his home in La Garita. He is married to a Costa Rican and has a child here, police said.

A fourth man, a Canadian identified by the last name and age of Roberge, 33, was arrested while leaving Daniel Oduber International Airport near Liberia Dec. 13. Anti-drug police said he had two kilos of cocaine in his luggage.

No break for A.M. Costa Rica

The news does not stop, and our readers come first.

So A.M. Costa Rica will publish every day this week and next. Christmas and New Year’s are the two days a year that this newspaper does not publish. But this year the two holidays fall on Saturday, a day when A.M. Costa Rica does not publish.

We also are aware that persons all over the world rely on us for breaking news, such as the early Christmas Day earthquake last year.

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A.M. Costa Rica's professional directory is where business people who wish to reach the English-speaking community may invite responses. If you are interested in being represented here, please contact the editor.


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Defensor wants more attention to swimming pool health
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Defensoria de los Habitantes has demanded that the health ministry apply stricter controls on swimming pools in tourist areas.  The Defensoria want the ministry to look more closely at the hygiene and the safety of the pools.

The recommendation came after an inhabitant filed a complaint after his two children drowned in a pool at one of the sports centers. 

The defensor de los habitante, Jose Manuel Echandi, said that the Ministerio de Salud should create a register of swimming pools that meet the necessary safety requirements in order to ensure the safety of those who use them. 

The requirements listed are that the swimming pool should clearly display its varying depths and have signs that caution the user. The swimming pool management also should instruct users on how to behave. the pool should have good lighting, an adequate number of changing rooms and life rings, said a release from Echandi’s office.

In addition to this, for the hygiene of the pool users, the defensor insists that there are frequent checks of the bacteria present in the pool. Cases of poisoning, illness and diarrhea are often from contaminated swimming pools. 

Furthermore the Defensoria de los Habitantes said that there should be a constant presence of lifeguards who remain vigilant at all swimming locations. The Defensoria said that at least 80 percent of the beaches in Costa Rica do not have enough life guards present to attend emergency situations. 

"The Defensoria consider it to be vital that the country should maximize its safety measures in places that have the most tourists, as well as warning people how dangerous the area is that they are visiting," said Echandi. 

The figures for drowning from the Judicial Investigation Organization show that in the years of 2002 and 2003 292 people have died. Males have been the main victims in rivers, beaches and swimming pools. Some have been caught in dangerous riptides at popular tourist beaches.


 
Six youngsters from same Quepos family rescued from surf
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Six children have been saved from drowning at Playa Conchal in Quepos, Puntarenas. The mother, Rosa Rivera Nuñez nearly lost her six children: Tatiana, 8, Aaron, 4, Joel, 7, Tania, 9, Dennis, 10 and Miade, 11 to the currents in the Pacific.  The family was enjoying a vacation and had decided to go for a swim in the sea. 

The swift action of the Coast Guards at the beach saved the lives of the children, who live in Quepos.

"They would have surely died," said an official from the

 Servicio Nacional de Guardacostas from the Ministrio de Gobernación, Policía y Seguridad Publica. Six lifeguards responded as soon as the panic stricken mother alerted the police.  "As soon as the police said that there was an emergency, we immediately left the base, The lives of six children depended on us," said an official who participated in the rescue. 

After several minutes of swimming against the strong currents the coast guardsmen rescued the children with the help of an onlooker who loaned them his Jet Ski.
After medical checks carried out at the Quepos coast guard base, the six children were reported healthy.


 
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