Greek hotel entertainer charged with stabbing boy

ATHENS, Greece (AP) - A young entertainer at a Greek island hotel was charged on Thursday with attempted murder and theft for allegedly stabbing a Russian guest's child 20 times after the 12-year-old confronted him over a theft.

The savage attack at a popular resort on Crete drew broad condemnation in the tourism-reliant country, and Greek hoteliers said they would cover the expenses of the boy's family in Greece for as long as his treatment lasts.

The Dutch suspect, who is 20, was formally accused by a prosecutor in the Cretan city of Iraklio and was jailed pending a court appearance next week.

The Russian boy was severely injured in Tuesday night's attack, and was flown to a children's hospital in Athens for emergency surgery. Doctors say he suffered spinal cord damage and extensive chest and leg wounds.

"He has very serious injuries," hospital chairman Haris Tombouloglou said.

The boy had been on holiday with his mother at a five-star hotel in the Hersonissos region in northern Crete.

Police allege that the suspect stole the child's laptop computer and mobile phone. They say that when the boy saw him with the gadgets, the Dutchman allegedly led him to a parking area, repeatedly stabbed him and left him for dead.

The boy's mother raised the alarm after her son went missing from the hotel. Police searched the area for hours before finding the injured child at about 2am on Wednesday, lying behind disused piping and building material.

The Greek hoteliers' association issued a statement expressing regret at the "tragic ... but isolated incident".

Tourism is a major source of income for Greece's tattered economy, and accounts for about one in five jobs in the recession-mired country where unemployment is at a record high of 27 per cent.

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