Residents on the Greek island of Hydra effectively held finance police hostage in the police station until riot police from Athens arrived to release them.
Tax inspectors swoop down on Greek businesses checking a valid VAT receipt is issued, thus ensuring the business is paying taxes to the state. However, when tax officials arrived on the Greek island of Hydra and discovered the owner of a seafood taverna was serving food without declaring the taxes, an unusual situation ensued.
According to Athens News the 55-year-old taverna owner fainted when the finance police attempted to arrest her, leaving them to arrest her 25-year-old son instead. Around 200 Hydriots, inflamed by the arrest, surrounded the police station where the young man was held, cutting off the water and electricity supplies and effectively holding the finance police hostage overnight.
Riot police were called from Athens but islanders blocked the port fearing the arrested man would be taken off the island. Athenian police eventually secured the release of the finance police and escorted them on their rest of their checks.
Gr. Reporter highlighted that German magazine Der Spiegel made much of the incident, publishing a piece about rampant tax evasion in Greece under the headline “Furious Greeks attack Tax-inspector."
The government issued a statement saying "At a time when citizens are feeling the heavy impact of the crisis and the actions needed to get the Greek economy into order, everyone will have to accept their practical and moral share of responsibility and not stand in the way of the law being implanted.”
PASOK, a third party member of the Greek coalition government, issued a statement condemning the incident, saying "The incident on Hydra has embarrassed the country internationally and allowed negative and unfair stereotypes to be about Greeks and Greece to be reproduced.”
The taverna owner's son claimed he intended to write up the receipts for the customers.