Roman Police Bust Corrupt Gladiator Ring at the Colosseum

Roman Police Bust Corrupt Gladiator Ring at the Coliseum

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Wooden swords were flying outside the Roman Colosseum as police dressed in ancient garb had it out with a group of corrupt gladiators.

The officers were part of an undercover sting meant to weed out cheating centurions.

Men dressed in their gladiator finery are a common site at the Roman landmark; posing for pictures with tourists and encouraging them to go on guided tours. A practice for which they get a kickback.

But, it's not all smiles and tacky souvenirs – there is a dark side to the centurion brotherhood. There have been allegations that the business is a "closed shop," and outsiders wanting in are rigorously, sometimes brutally, excluded, reports The Guardian.

There have also been complaints of gladiators tricking people into paying for tours that never happen, and then threaten those who demanded their money back. Or, some will charge outrageous fees for photo ops, while others hold cameras hostage until a fee is paid.

So, Roman policemen dressed as gladiators went out to patrol the streets of Rome. They were reportedly approached and threatened by three other gladiators, who were then arrested. When a skirmish ensued, more undercover officers, dressed as street cleaners, came to the rescue.

According to the Daily Mail, 20 faux gladiators and tour guides were arrested as part of the operation. But, The Guardian quotes that number at 30.

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