The Korea Herald


Crackdown on gladiator impersonators in Rome


Published : Aug. 14, 2011 - 15:47

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ROME (AP) -- Undercover police have donned togas, capes and sandals to stop a turf battle among Italians who impersonate gladiators outside the Colosseum and other landmarks in Rome and make money by posing for camera carrying tourists.

(AP-Yonhap News) (AP-Yonhap News)

The trade has been tolerated for years, but that was before about 20 of the practitioners began assaulting and intimidating their competitors to take over lucrative tourist spots such as the Colosseum, the Forum and the Vatican, officials and police said Friday.

So police decided to intervene disguised as gladiators, garbage collectors and tourists, but their operation at the ancient arena and the nearby Piazza Venezia wasn't easy.

On Wednesday, police impersonating gladiators were attacked when they told competitors to leave the scene, but police dressed as garbage collectors and tourists came to their rescue.

The Rome newspaper Il Messaggero said one suspect demanded the money a woman tourist had paid for a photo of herself with a gladiator, but it turned out the pair in the photograph were both undercover officers.

Italian media carried photos or TV footage showing a handcuffed gladiator being taken away and a policeman pretending to be a tourist wrapping an arm around a gladiator's neck.

None of the civilian gladiators were arrested while the probe continues.

Police estimate that about 30 such tradesmen are scattered around Rome's top tourist attractions on a normal day, the majority around the Colosseum, where in the city's ancient glory days real gladiators engaged in combat to the thrill of the masses.

In future, such crackdowns may be easier.

Antonio Gazzellone, the mayor's point man for tourism, said there are no regulations controlling the activity of such gladiators but that parliament is considering a law that would allow police to quickly intervene in case of aggressive behavior by the impersonators.



로마경찰, 검투사 복장 호객꾼 단속

이탈리아 로마 경찰이 콜로세움(원형경기장) 등 유명 관광지 주변에서 검투사 복장을 한 채 관광객들과 사진 촬영을 해주는 대 가로 돈을 받아온 호객꾼들에 대한 단속에 나섰다.

로마 경찰은 지난 10일 콜로세움과 베네치아 광장 주변에서 직접 고대 로마  복 장인 토가와 망토, 투구를 쓰고 샌들을 착용한 채 위장근무를 한 결과 20명을 체포, 공갈협박 및 폭력 혐의로 12일 기소했다고 AP가 전했다.

이들은 관광객들이 자주 찾는 콜로세움과 포로로마노, 베네치아 광장, 바티칸 주변에서 관광객들과 함께 기념사진 촬영을 위한 포즈를 취해주고 10~20 유로의  돈을 받는 사업을 독점하기 위해 위장근무 중인 경찰관들을 협박하고 폭력을 휘두른 혐의를 받고 있다.

경찰은 이들을 체포하기 위해 검투사뿐만 아니라 환경미화원과 관광객 등으로 위장하고 있다가 폭력을 행사하는 현장을 덮쳤다. (연합뉴스)