NEWS

Police, coast guard, reply to claims of tourist assaults

Police and coast guard authorities on Tuesday issued explanatory statements regarding alleged assaults of three foreign nationals in Greece.

The coast guard denied reports according to which a 29-year-old New Zealander was beaten by officers in the Cretan port of Hania on October 21. A statement said that the 29-year-old was briefly detained after being involved in a brawl with patrons at a local bar but was released after the intervention of the New Zealand consul general.

Coast guard sources said the man, identified as Joel Stirling, had bruises before he was detained that appeared to have been sustained during the brawl. Stirling was quoted in the New Zealand Herald as saying that he was punched and beaten with batons while in detention.

Meanwhile Greek police said that two officers shown to be kicking and beating an immigrant in a video aired by the BBC and CNN had been punished, one with a fine and the other with suspension.

In a related development, Korean authorities have said that they will lodge an official complaint with Greece after a Korean tourist was allegedly assaulted by Greek plain-clothes officers in mid-October while sightseeing in Athens.

There were no details about the exact circumstances of the alleged assault but the tourist claimed to have been attacked after officers asked him to show his ID.