Venice tourist locks currency exchange worker in booth over rates

Woman reportedly locked in booth is latest incident involving visitors to Italian city

 Venice crowds: tourists  near San Marco Square during the city’s famous traditional carnival. Photograph: iStock

Venice crowds: tourists near San Marco Square during the city’s famous traditional carnival. Photograph: iStock

 

A tourist is facing charges of kidnapping after allegedly holding a worker hostage at a bureau de change in Venice in a row over exchange rates. The man is reported to have been unhappy with the amount in euros he received in exchange for $100.

The 46-year-old man, believed to be from Israel, tried to cancel the exchange at the agency close to Rialto Bridge before allegedly closing the shutters and preventing the woman from leaving her booth.

The woman’s ordeal lasted about half an hour. She managed to call the police who arrested the customer. The woman was reported to be “dismayed and frightened”.

The incident is the latest claim of a tourist behaving badly in the lagoon city. In September a gondolier was headbutted and punched in the face by a man after they clashed over a selfie. The tourist had boarded a moored vessel to take a selfie with his family and became aggressive after the gondolier told him to either get out of the boat or pay for a ride.

Venice authorities are imposing much harsher penalties on delinquent tourists, with two Czech visitors recently fined €3,000 for “obscene acts” when they were caught skinny-dipping in a canal close to St Mark’s Square.

In June, two German tourists were fined €1,000 and asked to leave the city after being caught preparing coffee with a camping stove on Rialto Bridge. The pair had violated one of the city’s “urban decorum” rules, which include bans on snacking on bridges and the steps of monuments and swimming or dipping toes in canals.

The historic city, which has a population of 50,000 people, attracts between 25 million and 30 million foreign visitors per year, according to the Italian tourist bureau. – Guardian

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