NEWS

Briton, 19, killed in Zakynthos brawl

A young British tourist died on the Ionian island of Zakynthos in the early hours of Wednesday following a fight with two locals, police said after arresting a 21-year-old taxi driver and his suspected accomplice, aged 25, in connection with the incident.

The 19-year-old died of stab wounds to the heart while his four friends were hospitalized with back and stomach injuries following the altercation in Laganas, a popular resort with tourists from the UK and known for its raucous nightlife.

The fight reportedly broke out after the two suspects objected to being repeatedly targeted by laser pens.

In a fit of rage, the 21-year-old cabbie is alleged to have pulled a knife out during the argument and stabbed the 19-year-old Briton.

Deputy Culture and Tourism Minister Giorgos Nikitiadis, who has been leading a campaign aimed at raising much-needed revenue for Greece by boosting the tourism sector, condemned the attack and expressed his condolences to the relatives of the victim.

As a police investigation got under way into the exact circumstances of the incident, authorities on the island blamed local bar and club owners for encouraging the drink-fueled binges that turn many foreign visitors into aggressive troublemakers.

?Such behavior has been curbed to a great extent but the situation is still out of control,? the mayor of Zakynthos, Stelios Bozikis, told Kathimerini.

He said he was ?extremely distressed? at the killing but not surprised. ?Something bad was bound to happen at some point. Every night young tourists act inappropriately, swear and provoke passers-by,? he said.

The mayor added that although the package tourism that brings most British tourists to Zakynthos is not very profitable due to the very low prices involved, entrepreneurs are obliged to keep catering for this market as they have debts to pay off.