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Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Hijacking of a busload of Japanese tourists
Number of victims: 2
Date of murders: November 4, 2000
Date of arrest: Same day (surrenders)
Date of birth: 1952
Victims profile: Georgia Spyrou, 77 (his mother-in-law) / Stamatis Taktikos (a friend he believed was having an affair with his wife)
Method of murder: Shooting
Location: Greece
Status: Committed suicide the same day by jumping out of a window at police headquarters while in custody

photo gallery


Hostage Ordeal Over In Greece

Athens, Nov. 4, 2000

(AP) - A gunman on Saturday released 33 Japanese tourists and surrendered to a television talk show host after hijacking a bus earlier in the day.

Christos Kendiras, 48, surrendered in the Athens port of Piraeus and was arrested by police. Before hijacking the bus, he had killed his mother-in-law and a friend in a village in southern Greece, police said. None of the passengers was injured.

Kendiras turned himself over to TV talk show host Makis Triantafilopoulos outside his office in the Athens port of Piraeus. He was then arrested.

After his surrender, the gunman was seen bowing to the Japanese tourists in television footage supplied by Greece's Alpha Channel, where Triantafilopoulos is the host of a late night talk show that often deals with social problems.

The bus passengers were being taken by police to an Athens hotel.

Alpha showed the gunman giving his shotgun to bus driver Giorgos Tsakonas before leaving the bus. He then went into Triantafilopoulos' office with police officers, where he reportedly made a statement before a television camera.

Kendiras had reportedly been talking to Triantafilopoulos during the afternoon.

The 11-hour ordeal began early Saturday when Kendiras shot and killed his mother-in-law, 77-year-old Georgia Spyrou, just outside the port village of Galata, police said.

He then drove into Galata and shot and killed Stamatis Taktikos, a friend he believed was having an affair with his wife, police said.

After the shootings, Kendiras drove about 20 miles north to Epidauros, a theater dating from the 4th century BC about 110 miles southwest of Athens.

In Epidauros, police said he used a container of fuel to set fire to his car and then stopped the passing bus. It was not immediately clear how he stopped or boarded the bus, which was carrying the 33 Japanese tourists as well as a Greek tour guide and the driver.

Kendiras first ordered the bus to head north toward Athens, but then directed the driver to turn around and head to Galata, where the killings took place, police said.

Kendiras was armed with a shotgun and also claimed to be carrying a 9mm pistol, said police Gen. Spyros Toundopoulos.

Reporters from the Antenna and Alpha television channels who spoke to the gunman said he didn't threatened to kill any of the passengers.

The tourists arrived in Greece two days ago on a three-day trip to the Peloponnese, he said.

At one point in the hostage drama, Kendiras apparently shot at a patrol motorcycle as it approached the bus, police said. The policeman was slightly injured by broken glass from his bike's shattered windshield.

Earlier, speaking to Alpha by mobile phone, Kendiras appeared agitated and spoke disjointedly about family problems. He said his wife had been cheating on him and he blamed her mother.

"I wanted to kill my mother-in-law. In other words, if I didn't kill her she'd be going in for heart surgery anyway, the people were going to give money for nothing," sad Kendiras, an auto body shop worker originally from the port of Piraeus.

He demanded to speak to his wife, and police attempted to arrange a meeting, authorities said.

Japan had contacted Greek authorities and urged them to safeguard the hostages' lives, foreign ministry spokesman Masaru Dekiba said.

Police set up road blocks along the main north-south highway connecting the capital with southern Greece and initially said they would attempt to stop the bus in Corinth, 52 miles west of Athens.

But the hijacker ordered the bus to change routes several times.

Before the surrender, heavily armed members of the anti-terrorist squad, two police helicopters, more than 20 police cars, seven motorbikes and several ambulances and fire trucks shadowed and isolated the moving bus. No other vehicles were allowed within more than two kilometer (mile).

It was the third time in the past 1-1/2 years that a hijacker has taken a busload of passengers hostage in Greece. In May 1999, an Albanian armed with a hand grenade forced a bus to drive to Albania with eight hostages. Albanian police stormed the bus, killing the hijacker and one captive. Two months later, another Albanian seized a bus and tried to take it to Albania. He was killed by a police sniper after a 24-hour standoff.


Tragic end to Greek hijacking

CBC News

Monday, November 6, 2000

A Greek man arrested in the hijacking of a busload of Japanese tourists died Sunday after jumping from a seventh-story window at police headquarters in Athens.

Christos Kendiras, 48, was taken into custody after a 10-hour hostage crisis that ended with his surrender Saturday.

He committed suicide just as police were getting ready to charge him with the hijacking and the murder of his mother-in-law and her friend prior to the hijacking.

Apparently, Kendiras broke free from a guard who was escorting him to a prosecutor's office after he was fingerprinted, photographed and interrogated.

Before turning himself over to police, Kendiras led officers in Greece on a tense chase after he took control of a bus with 35 people on board.

Throughout the day, Kendiras used a cell phone to stay in contact with a local television station. He told reporters he would kill his hostages one at a time if police did not stop following him.

In the end, no one on board the bus was hurt.

But a police officer riding a motorcycle was slightly injured after shots were fired and he was hit with broken glass.

Kendiras eventually surrendered after he was allowed to speak with a popular Greek talk show host, Makis Triantafilopoulos.

The two had a drink and a brief talk before Kendiras was arrested.


Hijacker in Greece jumps to his death in police custody.

CRIME OF PASSION: After killing two people and taking 35 people aboard a bus hostage, a man troubled over his wife's alleged affair committed suicide by jumping out of a window


Monday, Nov 06, 2000

After killing two people, a gunman who had hijacked a bus with 33 Japanese tourists aboard committed suicide by jumping out of a window at police headquarters while in custody yesterday, police said. He died instantly.

Christos Kendiras, 48, broke a window and jumped from the seventh floor of the building in downtown Athens just before he was to be taken to a prosecutor to be formally charged, authorities said. Police had just finished taking his fingerprints before he died.

On Saturday, Kendiras hijacked a bus with 35 people after killing his mother-in-law and a friend in southern Greece over a family dispute. The hostages, including a Japanese guide and a Greek guide, were freed unharmed after being taken by Kendiras for a 10-hour journey.

Two police officers had been escorting Kendiras yesterday morning until he broke free from them and ran at a window, authorities said. He landed on a second-floor balcony, they added.

"Unfortunately, we had this event, which is not the best thing that could have happened to us,'' said Dimitris Efstathiadis, general secretary of the Public Order Ministry. "There is no justification after the drama we had yesterday for any relaxation of security measures and to have this happen.''

Public Order Minister Mihalis Chrisohoidis ordered "an immediate investigation to determine how this occurred,'' Efstathiadis said. "The minister wants to find out in zero time what happened, to find out what the conditions were that led to him jumping.''

Kendiras was to appear before a public prosecutor in the port of Piraeus where he worked, authorities said.

Distraught because he believed his wife was cheating on him, Kendiras on Saturday shot and killed 77-year-old Georgia Spyrou, his mother-in-law, and Stamatis Taktikos, 44, whom he suspected of being his wife's lover, in the village of Galata, about 200km southwest of Athens.

The car repairman then drove north to Epidauros, the site of a 4th century BC theater that is one of Greece's prime tourist attractions.

There, he set fire to his car and used the blazing wreck and a gun to pull over the bus, which was heading to the theater.

Threatening to kill his hostages, Kendiras took the bus on an all-day trip back and forth along the main highway connecting central and southern Greece. Dozens of police cars, helicopters and ambulances followed the bus.

Kendiras shot at some police vehicles, slightly wounding one officer.

Kendiras demanded he talk to popular television show host Makis Triantafilopoulos.

In a deal arranged with police, Kendiras agreed to surrender himself at Triantafilopoulos' office in Piraeus and free the hostages.

Authorities took the freed passengers to a hotel in Athens afterward.



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