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Last Updated: Tuesday, 18 May, 2004, 12:33 GMT 13:33 UK
Hacks warned on Olympic security
The Olympic Stadium in Athens is under construction
A number of reporters have been trying to test Olympic security
Greece is warning reporters against illegally entering Olympic venues after a series of newshounds were arrested trying to expose security flaws.

The Greek public order minister said there would be "serious consequences" for anyone on sites without permission.

Giorgos Voulgarakis told Greek radio that Olympic security was not "just an opportunity for a story".

Organisers say Athens' full security curtain will come down on 1 July, but sites are being guarded until then.

'Strange behaviour'

The warning came after British and German journalists were arrested for illegally entering Olympic complexes at night in bids to test security.

Three British journalists who tried to sneak into the main Olympic stadium without permission were arrested on Saturday.

Last Thursday, a Times reporter and a photographer were briefly detained after spending several hours inside the main Olympic Stadium.

It is a strange behaviour because they [reporters] could have got permission to visit all venues
Giorgos Voulgarakis
Greek public order minister

On the same day three German reporters were arrested inside the Games' second largest venue at the Hellenikon sports complex in southern Athens.

An announcement on the Games website, warns: "It is more than obvious that the Olympic Games' image and the image of Greece in general, cannot be sacrificed for impressing the public and whatever other utility.

"Olympic security will be fully applied starting 1 July 2004; until then all Olympic worksites are guarded, but without the full security system which will be applied on the above date."

Mr Voulgarakis told Flash radio: "It is a strange behaviour because they [reporters] could have got permission to visit all venues."

Soldiers at stations

It is feared the huge profile of the Games - the first to be held since the attacks on New York, Washington, Bali and Madrid - could make Athens a prime target for terrorists.

But the International Olympic Committee earlier this month highly praised Greece's $1bn security arrangements for the Games.

Measures include the involvement of Nato at a cost of nearly four times what was spent on the 2000 Sydney Games.

On Tuesday, it was reported that Greek soldiers would be used to guard train stations during the Olympics, as security plans continue to expand with the games less than three months away.

Transport Minister Michalis Liapis asked for military personnel to "guard sensitive junctions, tanks, tunnels and railway facilities", the Associated Press said.

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