Katira Island, purchased from TitanChem by eccentric billionaire Detrich Altenburg III in 1994, is on the verge of becoming the new playboys' paradise.
Situated in the Bay of Bengal, this artificial island was constructed as a base for oil exploration in the late sixties, only to be hit hard by the oil shortages of the seventies, when it was abandoned and, for a short time, later used by the Global Nature Preservation Forum as a wildlife reserve.
"We saw potential, and grasped a never-to-be-repeated opportunity", said Frank Malloy, spokesman for the Altenberg Foundation, during a special press conference at the Trump Plaza Hotel, Thursday. "Five years, and one and half billion dollars later, we've constructed what we can confidently call the Monaco of the Indian Ocean. The prestigeous name of the Altenburg Foundation is attracting investment from many companies and individuals"
Asked about the resident population, some of them former employees of TitanChem from surrounding countries, Mr Malloy said: "We're working hard to bring the population in on this project. They've fought long and hard to carve out lives here, and we want to reward that strength and courage. Many people are finding meaningful employment in the essential utilities and retail sectors."
A number of as yet unnamed individuals from the high-society ranks have already purchased property on the island, and security does not appear to be a major concern for them, even though radical splinter groups of the local population have frequently voiced their objection to the development. "We are employing the latest word in law-enforcement", Mr. Malloy had to say. "We don't expect them to be overworked, for we have a place for everyone on Katira. It's a shame that some people can't see that."
Mr. Malloy would not be drawn on the subject of superhuman law-enforcement, hinted at when Clean Seas, an extreme environmentalist group conducting experiments to test the volume of leakage from one of TitanChem's disused refinery plants were "terrorised" by a mysterious masked figure earlier this year. At the time, it was suggested by the Katira Island press office that this was a combined attempt by Clean Seas and "local troublemakers" to stir up objections to the renovation project.
Last month, the normally somewhat reclusive Mr Altenburg visited the island with his superhuman bodyguard, former wrestler Max Grip. Grip was last in the news when he was unsuccessfully charged with criminal damage and actual bodily harm against reporters trying to film his employer attending a conference in Osaka. Despite the charges being dropped on a legal technicality, Mr. Altenburg paid for the replacment of cameras, audio equipment and a TV camera-crew's van as "a gesture of good faith".
4th September 1999