Paceville hospitality king Hugo Chetcuti dies following complications after stabbing

Paceville entrepreneur dies in hospital following complications after stabbing on Friday evening outside his own establishment

Hugo Chetcuti
Hugo Chetcuti

The Paceville entertainment and hospitality mogul Hugo Chetcuti has died, from complications that followed his stabbing outside one of his establishments, a source close to the family has confirmed.

Chetcuti, 52, had been reported to be in stable condition on Sunday after having had a surgical operation carried out on him following the stabbing on Friday evening, at around 10:30pm. His brother Isaac had reported on Facebook that Chetcuti was slowly recovering. Chetcuti later was submitted to a second surgical intervention.

But a source close to the family confirmed with MaltaToday that the entrepreneur passed away on Thursday evening.

Chetcuti owned a substantial portion of Paceville real estate with his hotel, clubs and restaurants which carry his signature ‘Hugo’s’ brand.

He was the father of Luke, who joined him in the family business, and had two brothers Isaac and Wayne, and a sister Cheryle, who managed one of his restaurants.

Serbian national Bojan Cmelik was charged with the attempted murder of Hugo Chetcuti
Serbian national Bojan Cmelik was charged with the attempted murder of Hugo Chetcuti

Chetcuti was stabbed in the stomach by Serbian national Bojan Cmelik, 35, who fled the scene but was later arrested on Saturday at around 2:30 am by RIU officers. He was arraigned before Magistrate Neville Camilleri accused of having stabbed Chetcuti – with the intent to kill him or put his life in manifest jeopardy – outside the Seafood And Cocktail establishment in Triq Santa Rita, Paceville.

The man was a former employee, who used to work at two of Chetcuti’s Paceville establishment, first as a helper than as a barman.

Cmelik pleaded not guilty to the charges. His lawyer did not ask for bail.

Cmelik was arrested in Sliema after a chase from Paceville. The police said a taser was used to aid in controlling and restraining him. He was taken to hospital to be treated for injuries he had sustained, and was later transferred to police headquarters for questioning.

The Malta Developers Association described Chetcuti as one of the biggest local entrepreneurs in the leisure, hospitality and entertainment industry, who had developed Paceville into a thriving centre that attracted thousands of people to his various establishments. “He contributed to an upgrading of the area and employed hundreds in the process. The MDA offers its deepest condolences to his family, in particular his brother, Wayne Chetcuti, who is also an MDA member.”

FKNK, the hunters’ federation, said Chetcuti’s death was met with “great sorrow” by its members.

“In this awful time, FKNK would like to give its personal condolences to Hugo’s family,” the federation said in a statement, “Hugo was a true friend of FKNK, and the federation will never forget the unconditional support he wholeheartedly offered during the time of the spring hunting referendum.”

Chetcuti, a hunter, had publicly said he was voting in favour of spring hunting in the 2015 referendum, backing the hunters’ campaign.

“Hugo's departure from this world will leave a huge void in many sectors. To FKNK, this is a loss not only of a member, but of a friend,” FKNK said.