|Shots fly in Cretan cannabis plant raid
25th Aug 2006
Police detected eight cannabis plantations in Milopotamos, near Rethymnon in Crete yesterday, in an
operation involving some 80 law enforcement officers and a helicopter.
However, the operation got off to a difficult start as local residents fired about 70-80 shots at the
officers trying stop them from reaching the plantations, authorities said.
“They tried to scare us but despite the conditions we stayed in the area and took all the necessary
measures to protect ourselves,” said a senior police officer.
No one was hurt in the operation which resulted in the confiscation of 439 cannabis plants, some of
which were 4 meters high. No arrests were made.
Since the start of summer, police have launched 22 raids in the Rethymnon area and have confiscated
more than 3,000 plants.
Fires raging across Northern Greece and the Peloponnese
23rd August 2006
A forest fire devastated the area of Cassandra in Halkidiki, northern Greece, causing the deaths of two
people and scorching some 5,000 hectares of scorched pine trees and at least 80 holiday homes
The blaze broke out Monday afternoon but was fanned later in the day by high winds. More than 250
firefighters and soldiers tried to put out the flames but were hampered by the wind and dark of nightfall.
At its peak, the fire spread over 25 kilometers and ravaged the village resorts of Polichroni, Hanioti,
Pefkohori, Nea Skioni and Kryopigi as thick black smoke covered the area.
The blaze forced thousands of tourists to flee their hotels for the local beaches, where more than 1,200
people boarded boats and coast guard vessels for safety. Others simply spent the night on the beach.
Authorities said that an unnamed 41-year-old German tourist drowned while trying to get his family
onto a rubber dinghy. Another elderly man died of a heart attack but no details were made public. More
than 50 people were taken to local hospitals with burns, injuries or breathing problems.
The fire continued to burn last night between Nea Skioni and Cassandrino, leaving authorities hoping
for favorable weather overnight.
Meanwhile, another large fire was burning last night in Laconia in the southeast Peloponnese.
Authorities said that at least 4,000 hectares of land, including crops and trees, had been burned, as
well as dozens of homes.
A state of emergency was declared in the municipalities of Gytheion, Oitylo and eastern Mani as
firefighters tried to contain the blaze on at least seven fronts
23rd August 2006
A 50-year-old with mental problems was arrested yesterday after stabbing a 60-year-old woman in
Souda, Crete, police said. The victim suffered serious arm and stomach injuries and was taken to the
hospital. The 50-year-old is prone to violent outbursts, police said, and had killed one of his sisters and
injured the other six years ago. Since then, the unnamed man had been held at several psychiatric
clinics and was only released recently.
European Citizens Voting in Greece
23rd August 2006
There will be a large increase in the number of Europeans who will vote in the October local elections
according to figures released yesterday.
Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos said that 8,921 European Union citizens, including people from
the 10 newest member states, will vote in October.
This is six times more than those who voted in the 1998 local elections, which were the first polls in
which non-Greeks could cast their ballot. This year’s figure is also 2.5 times higher than the number of
EU citizens that voted in the 2002 local elections.
Almost 3,000 of the voters are Britons, who make up the largest group, followed by more than 1,800
German nationals who registered before the June 30 deadline.
Foreigners will be able to vote in the municipal and community polls but not the prefectural elections.
Death Fall – Murder Charge
17th August 2006
A British man who jumped from a hotel balcony in Crete with his two children has been charged with
murder after his six-year-old son died.
John Hogan's two-year-old daughter survived the fall from the fourth-floor balcony and is now in a
stable condition in hospital.
Mr Hogan, from Bradley Stoke near Bristol, also faces an attempted murder charge, the UK Foreign
The 32-year-old told hospital officials he did not remember the incident.
His family was taken to the Agios Nikolaos hospital for initial treatment, after the incident late on
The hospital's director Panayiotis Sparakis said it was a "truly tragic" case.
Mr Hogan's wife has been named as Natasha and works as a nurse at the Royal Gwent Hospital in
Newport, South Wales.
He was reported to be in a stable condition after the fall at the Petra Mare hotel in Ierapetra on the
south coast of the island, and under police guard.
The family were said to have travelled from Britain for a two-week holiday.
All clear for Greek airports
11th August 2006
Airline travelers were urged yesterday not to panic as the government assured people that airport
security in Greece was adequate following the uncovering of an alleged plot in Great Britain to blow up
airplanes with liquid explosives.
Hundreds of passengers were delayed at Athens International Airport as all Olympic Airlines flights to
Britain were suspended following a heightened security alert.
British Airways and easyJet also canceled flights as British authorities said they averted “mass murder”
in the skies by thwarting an alleged plot to blow up passenger planes bound for the United States. A
British Airways flight which left for London yesterday morning was forced to return to Athens because of
An Olympic Airlines flight which departed Athens for Heathrow airport at 6.15 p.m. was the first flight of
the day to leave for Britain. A British Airways flight to Gatwick Airport also left soon afterward. Flights
from the UK to Greece were also severely delayed.
The arrests of 21 people triggered in Britain worldwide security alerts. Passengers were forced to
repack their hand luggage and only carry essential belongings through security in clear plastic bags.
However, government sources said that Greece has not been asked to take any additional security
measures, adding that tight checks are already in place at Greek airports.
“There is no cause for concern in Greece,” said Transport Minister Michalis Liapis.
“Greece has won the reputation of being a safe country and the successful hosting of the Olympic
Games proved it,” said Tourism Minister Fanni Palli-Petrali
New museum in Kissamos
10th August 2006
Authorities in Crete said yesterday that a new archaeological museum will open in the area of Kissamos
on September 3. The museum will exhibit artifacts that have been unearthed during archaeological digs
in the area, which is part of the Hania prefecture. Most of the exhibits are from the Roman era, officials
said. The construction of the museum cost 586,000 euros.
9th Aug 2006
Almost a third of businesses in Hania and Rethymnon, Crete, which were inspected during the last two
weeks were employing workers without social insurance, Costas Smirilis, the head of the inspection
service for the country’s largest fund, IKA, said yesterday. He said that 490 businesses were checked
and 170 were found to be breaking the law. Smirilis said that by evading their contributions, these
companies were costing IKA 51,000 euros a year.
Cafe owner lashes out over refusal of license
8th Aug 2006
An enraged cafe owner injured two prefectural officials and damaged their car in a village near Hania,
Crete, after attacking them with a piece of wood because his business had been refused an operating
license, police said on Saturday.
Two health and hygiene inspectors had just conducted a routine check at another cafeteria in the
village of Aghia when the attack occurred.
The man struck the officials and their driver with the piece of wood and then smashed all the windows
of the car in which they were traveling.
After the incident, a woman inspector was taken to the hospital where doctors fitted her with a neck
brace. The driver suffered minor injuries to his back, officers said.
Police arrested the unnamed cafe owner.
31st July 2006
Crowds of worshippers, dignitaries and members of the church gathered in Iraklion to pay their last
respects to the late Archbishop Timotheos of Crete, who was buried on the island on Saturday.
Timotheos had served as Crete's archbishop for 28 years.
31st July 2006
An earthquake measuring 4.4 Richter shook Iraklion, Crete, early yesterday morning without causing
any injuries or damage. The quake struck at 3.40 a.m. and its epicenter was in the sea 19 kilometers
north of the city, at a depth of 20 kilometers.
Big tax hikes in store
28th July 2006
Taxes on cigarettes and monthly mobile phone subscriptions will rise by up to 317 percent as the
government tries to secure state revenues amid the geopolitical uncertainty and high petrol prices
threatening to derail its budget policy.
Smokers will have to cough up an extra 0.20 euros per packet starting today. The higher levy will be
applicable on all tobacco brands.
The tax rises mean that as of October, monthly mobile phone bills of up to 30 euros per month will be
charged an additional 0.50 euros while tax on accounts in the 60- to 90-euro range will rise at least
Revenues in the first six months of the year have beaten targets. The government says it has cut the
deficit by about a third compared to the same period a year earlier.
Greece is aiming to lower the deficit to below 3 percent of gross domestic product for the first time since
the country entered the single currency zone in 2001.
“Intense geopolitical instability has resulted in the increase of petrol prices and raw materials. This
influences all countries and forces us to protect the budget from external factors,” the ministry added.
The move comes after an increase at the start of June in the special consumption tax that is applicable
to petrol. The tax is expected to boost state coffers an extra 115 million euros over the rest of this year.
According to some estimates, the higher levies imposed yesterday are likely to earn an additional
annual amount of 270 million euros.
But the news comes as inflation already appears to be spiking toward the 4 percent mark for July.
Greek inflation remains one of the highest in the eurozone.
Malia Mob Fight
23rd July 2006
Ten British men have been arrested in Crete after "quite a big punch-up" involving around 50 Britons,
the Foreign Office has said.
The men were arrested on Saturday and charged with dangerous bodily harm, disturbing the peace
and damage to property.
A 20-year-old British woman, appearing alongside the men, was charged with damaging a police car.
The group of 50 people smashed equipment and broke windows as they charged through a local
hospital looking for four patients stabbed earlier, according to the Sun newspaper.
The paper said trouble started after groups of men began to argue following insults about their
A Foreign Office spokesman said: "Quite a big punch-up took place on the main beach road in the early
hours of Saturday morning.
"The fighting continued at the medical centre in Malia. The men have been released on bail until 1
George Speis, who works for Cretan Medicare, said the group arrived at the medical centre after a man
had been taken there with a wound from a bottle.
He said: "It was like a riot. It was pretty nasty. It was unacceptable.
"The police tried to disperse them. They were threatening so one policeman drew a sub-machine gun
and they got scared and disappeared.
"This year, in the last two weeks, the British have become extremely aggressive, which has not
"This is the worst year in regard to violence with British people. I'm worried someone might get killed."
According to Mr Speis a security guard had been employed at the centre following another "small riot"
involving around 100 "drunk" British people 10 days ago.
He said on that occasion a group of around 50 Britons had caused up to £2,000 worth of damage
during the fight, which had lasted about 15 minutes.
Horse and carriage plunges into Harbour
24th July 2006
A horse and carriage plunged into the sea at Hania Old Harbour yesterday, along with it’s four
passengers and driver. The young driver and the passengers, two women and two children from
Finland, were helped to safety, but unfortunately the horse drowned. Onlookers say that something
startled the horse and it ran out of control a little way before falling into the harbour.
24th July 2006
A 40-year-old woman died early yesterday after apparently falling from a bridge near the Rethymon-
Hania national road in Crete. The unnamed woman had been traveling in a car with three friends when
she asked the driver to pull over so she could relieve herself. However, she wandered down an unlit
side road and when she did not return, her friends began searching for her. They found her body at the
foot of a 6-meter-high bridge. She was pronounced dead upon arrival at the hospital.
Crime rise a concern for police
19th July 2006
Crime figures released yesterday indicate that there was a rise in certain criminal activities, such as
bank robberies and apartment break-ins, during the first six months of this year, the Public Order
Police recorded 131 bank raids in the first six months of this year, whereas there were 139 during the
whole of last year. Officials said that 111 of the bank robberies this year have taken place in Attica.
Only 18 have been solved until now.
There have also been more than 24,000 break-ins so far this year, compared to some 31,000 burglaries
during the whole of 2005. Some 17,000 break-ins took place in Attica, confirming the region as the most
crime-ridden in Greece.
Almost 1,700 people have been arrested in connection with these burglaries, according to yesterday’s
figures. Around 1,100 of them are Greeks.
Authorities are also concerned about the rise in the number of drug-related crimes. Police have
confiscated 5 tons of cannabis, some 100 kilos of heroine, 8 kilos of cocaine and 10,000 ecstasy pills so
far this year.
A man was arrested in Hania, Crete, yesterday on suspicion of having broken into at least five kiosks in
the city after some 1,500 euros in coins was found in his possession, police said. Officers caught the
man, an unnamed Albanian national, as he came out of a kiosk which he had just robbed, taking 400
euros in change and phone cards worth 500 euros. A further 940 euros in coins, four boxes of
cigarettes, two knives and a cigar were found at the hut in which he was living. He is suspected of
having robbed four other kiosks with an accomplice.
Minister warns civil servants about extended summer vacation
Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos sent a message to all civil services yesterday reminding staff and
managers that employees’ vacations should not interfere with the running of their offices. Some public
services, such as town-planning offices, have been known to shut down for the entire month of August
but Pavlopoulos indicated in his circular that managers are responsible for ensuring that staff do not all
take their vacation at the same time and that the office functions properly during the summer.
Boy, 6, dies in swimming pool in Hania
17th July 2006
A 6-year-old Austrian boy died on Saturday afternoon, moments after his family had checked into
rented rooms near Hania, Crete. Police said the boy dove into a swimming pool at the complex without
his parents’ knowledge. They later saw the child at the bottom of the pool and pulled him out. The boy
was still breathing when an ambulance arrived at the complex in Parigoria but he died on the way to
the hospital. The coroner later said the boy died after swimming on a full stomach and warned parents
to keep a close watch on their children and prevent them from swimming just after they have eaten .
Wife Murder - Suspect caught after 15 years on run
15th July 2006
A 40-year-old man from Serres, northern Greece, who is suspected of murdering his wife 15 years ago
went on trial in Iraklion, Crete, yesterday. The unnamed suspect is alleged to have killed his Cypriot
wife in Thessaloniki in 1991. Police think that he fled the city after the murder and has been living in
virtual seclusion on Crete ever since. He was stopped at a routine traffic check on Tuesday and officers
discovered that he was using a stolen identity card and had given police false details. After his trial in
Crete for possessing false papers, he will be taken to Thessaloniki to face murder charges.
Samaria Gorge Accident
12th July 2006
A 14 year old Austrian boy was seriously injured by a falling rock in Samaria Gorge yesterday. The
accident took place 1km from the entrance to the gorge, and just 200m from the spot where a 52 year
old French tourist was killed by a blow to the head by a falling rock two months ago.
The boy was taken to Hania hospital by ambulance and underwent
neurosurgery and is in a critical condition.
According to sources from the Forestry Commission the rock falls are caused by wild goats which are
prevalent in this area. They are now looking into how tourists can be protected, including the possible
use of hard hats.
Cretan fire fighting
30th June 2006
Prefectural authorities in Hania yesterday appealed to the Public Order Ministry to supply them with two
water-dropping helicopters which would be stationed at the airports of Hania and Iraklion to boost the
island’s fire fighting capabilities. The move came after a blaze on Wednesday ravaged 25 hectares of
olive trees in the area of Sfakia. “If there had been aircraft support (on Wednesday) the damage would
have been significantly smaller,” the head of Hania prefecture’s civil protection unit, Lambros Vassilakis,
said. The blaze in Sfakia was controlled late on Wednesday, according to authorities .
EU sues Greece over its waste
The European Commission yesterday took Greece to the European Court of Justice for failing to ensure
the proper treatment of wastewater in 24 towns and cities.
Effective water treatment should have been implemented by Greece by the end of 2000, the
Commission noted in a statement, adding that untreated waste water poses a public health risk.
But Greece's facilities are still inadequate even though Greece «is eligible for and has received
considerable EU funding,» the Commission said in a statement.
The areas deemed to fall short of EU standards include the island of Zakynthos, Iraklion on Crete,
central Thessaloniki and several small towns in eastern Attica.
According to European Union regulations, towns and cities of more than 15,000 inhabitants are obliged
to have sewage systems for collecting their wastewater as well as facilities for subjecting the water to
biological treatment before discharging it into the sea or fresh water.
Rethymnon Bus and Fuel Tanker crash.
27th June 2006
A fuel tanker collided with a bus on the National Highway yesterday and burst into flames. The tanker
driver and 3 passengers on the back seat of the bus were killed, while many others were injured and
burnt including 4 passengers who are in a critical condition. The bus belonged to a local factory and
was transporting workers. It happened some 10km outside of Rethymnon and the section of the road
where the accident occurred was closed off. Just a few meters from the accident is a petrol filling
station and there were fears that the flames could spark an explosion there.
Shop owner caught in Crete antiquities raid
16th June 2006
Authorities said yesterday that a 60-year-old businessman arrested in Iraklion for possessing illegal
antiquities could be linked to a large international smuggling operation.
The head of the Special Investigation Service, Michalis Anastassakis, said that evidence does not
currently point to illegal trade in antiquities but he did not rule out the suspect being part of an
international antiquities-smuggling gang.
Police found in the suspect’s possession an ancient marble funeral tablet, two vases, 27 ancient coins
and six icons dating from before the 19th century, among other items.
Additionally, police found 159 bullets in a bank deposit box kept by the suspect. Authorities did not
identify the man, who owns a retail store in Iraklion, as investigations into the issue continue.
Public Sector Extends Working Hours
11th June 2006
The Inner Cabinet meeting yesterday approved the public sector’s new working hours, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.,
scheduled to begin September 1. The operating hours will be the same in the summer and winter
periods. Some public services, including tax offices, will close their doors to the public earlier, at 2 p.m.
Chief inspector finds corruption is still rife in public sector
7th June 2006
Corruption and inefficiency is thriving in the public sector, particularly at town-planning offices, Public
Administration Inspectors’ Agency head Leandros Rakintzis said in his annual report which he
presented yesterday. Rakintzis said that town planners were in many cases failing to enforce
environmental laws and were not conducting enough checks on illegal construction. Rakintzis noted
widespread illegal building in the southern Aegean and Ionian islands. He investigated 592 cases of
alleged corruption or mismanagement and referred 62 of them to prosecutors for further investigation.
7th June 2006
A 40-year-old police officer, Spyros Mavredakis, was hospitalized in Hania, Crete, yesterday after being
stabbed in a cafe while he was off duty. He was in stable condition. Witnesses said that the victim was
attacked by Ioannis Ieronimakis, aged 48, for no apparent reason before he fled the scene in his taxi.
Ieronimakis later gave himself up to police.
Firefighters take off
6th June 2006
The firefighting season began officially yesterday as a number of water-dropping planes flew from
Elefsina, west of Athens, to islands and various other parts of Greece where they will be used to
combat forest fires. The planes conducted 2,387 sorties during the firefighting season last year, racking
up a total of 5,012 hours in the air.
Minister wants golfers in Greece
5th June 2006
Attracting more golfers to Greece will be one of the country’s chief tourism targets over the coming
years, Tourism Minister Fani Palli-Petralia said yesterday. She was visiting the island of Crete, which is
hosting Greece’s first international golf tournament. “Crete is an ideal destination for all those people
who play golf,” she said. The minister said that the government is preparing a draft law to help develop
the game in Greece. “We have to create golf courses over the next few years because there is great
interest and investment opportunities,” Palli-Petralia added.
Pilot’s Funeral in Chania
1st June 2006
A full honorary military funeral was held in Chania yesterday for Costas Iliakis, the Greek fighter pilot
who lost his life in the mid air collision with a Turkish jet over the Aegean last week.
The service was held in the Metropolitan church of Chania and was attended by top politicians – Greek
President Karolo Papouli, PASOK leader Georgos Papandreau, and Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyianni, as
well as top military personnel and colleagues from the Air Force Base, family, friends and hundreds of
local people who turned out to pay their respects.
The 36 year old, who lived in Aroni, Akrotiri, leaves a wife and 2 young children aged 4 and 1 ½ years.
|Copyright 2004-2012 Carol Palioudaki. Latest News in Crete & Greece. www.livingincrete.net
|Living in Crete
Crete & Greece
June to August 2006
|Out in Paperback
'Living in Crete .
A Guide to Living, Working,
& Buying Property in Crete'
Click here for details
Available to buy online
and in Crete bookshops