NEWS

Minister calls for inspections on all child play areas

Interior Minister Yiannis Michelakis on Thursday ordered checks on all fairgrounds, playgrounds and playgroups following the death last Sunday of a 13-year-old boy, and the serious injury of his nine-year-old sister, at an unlicensed fairground in Elliniko, south of Athens.

In a circular sent to all general secretaries and municipal authorities, Michelakis called for an inspection to determine how many such facilities are operating without licenses and for a review of the licensed ones. The responses must be submitted to the ministry by June 30, he said.

The mayor of Elliniko, Christos Kortzidis, on Wednesday rebuffed criticism levelled against municipal authorities for failing to conduct checks on the fairground where the 13-year-old lost his life. “We received no complaints,” he said. “Some people were waiting for this to happen so they could say ‘We told you so,’” he said.

Four people – the fairground’s owner, an Italian man who rented equipment and two Bangladeshi fairground employees – are to face a prosecutor on Friday on criminal charges of manslaughter through neglect with possible malice aforethought.

In a related development, police in Thessaloniki said they broke a criminal racket believed to have set up 36 illegal fairgrounds across the country. Five suspected members of the racket were arrested following a 10-month investigation, police said.

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