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Teenager fined €10,000 for public peeing in Italy

A 19-year-old has been hit with a €10,000 fine for public urination in the northern Italian city of Genoa, according to local media.

Teenager fined €10,000 for public peeing in Italy
The incident took place in Genoa, pictured. Photo: Luca Volpi/Flickr

The student took a bathroom break in an alleyway shortly before 3am on a February morning, Il Secolo XIX reported on Wednesday.

The 19-year-old had just left a local bar with some friends, and claimed he was unable to find any open public toilets or bars with the necessary facilities, forcing him to relieve himself in a secluded street.

Police caught him in the act and charged him with acts of public indecency – but it wasn't until the following week that the teen discovered the exact amount he was being fined: €10,000.

“I re-read the fine three of four times, thinking I'd misunderstood. But it was all true,” the boy's father told Il Secolo XIX. “I sought legal advice but they told me it was better to pay; that we could appeal but the chance of winning was basically zero.”

There was some consolation for the teenager, though, who only ended up having to pay a third of the total figure because he was able to pay straight away.

In early 2016, Italy de-criminalized acts of public indecency, which include not only public urination but also carrying out sexual acts in public, for example. 

This meant that those found guilty now face administrative sanctions rather than criminal charges; in other words, no jail time, but a larger fine of between €5,000 and €10,000.

But the legal change may also mean that those caught short are less likely to be let off. In 2013, before the change, a 55-year-old was acquitted and let off a fine for public urination after Italy's Supreme Court deemed the act to be “urgent”

If the courts don't decide in your favour, peeing in public can turn out to be very costly indeed.

Last year, an Italian teacher was fired over a previous conviction for urinating in a bush. Though the offence itself was minor, failing to declare a criminal record is a sackable offence for teachers, and Italy's Court of Audit told the school the man had to be let go.

And sometimes it's not the act itself but the location which causes offence.

One man caught urinating on a Florence church – the burial ground of Renaissance artist Michelangelo – justified his act by saying he was an atheist.

This came just months after local taxi drivers had complained about tourists relieving themselves in the heart of the historic city.

READ ALSO: Ten stupid things tourists have done in ItalyTen stupid things tourists have done in Italy

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MAFIA

Italian police seize €250 million and arrest 56 in latest mafia blitz

In its latest mafia sting, Italian police took down a large 'Ndrangheta ring in southern Calabria, placing 56 people under investigation including a regional councillor and a former head of the regional tourism board.

Italian police seize €250 million and arrest 56 in latest mafia blitz

The early-morning blitz by over 300 police focused on areas of Calabria – Italy’s poorest region – under the control of the Mancuso clan, a powerful branch of the infamous ‘Ndrangheta, many of whose top operatives are among hundreds of defendants in an ongoing ‘maxi-trial’.

Fifty-six people, many already in prison, were put under criminal investigation for a series of crimes including mafia-related conspiracy, extortion, kidnapping, bribery and possession of weapons, police and prosecutors said.

READ ALSO: ‘Ndrangheta: It’s time to bust some myths about the Calabrian mafia

Besides alleged mafia members, the operation also snared businessmen, a regional councillor released from prison days earlier, a former head of the regional tourism board and two civil servants, police said.

The incarcerated boss of the clan, Luigi Mancuso, also known as “The Supreme”, is the biggest mafioso in the massive mafia trial that started in January 2021.

Still, police said, his clan and affiliates, including the La Rosa and Accortini families, have continued to dominate illegal activities in the Vibo Valentia province, which is located right on the toe of Italy’s boot and is widely known as the ‘Coast of the Gods’ due to its stunning coastal views.

One mafia scheme involved the infiltration of a foreign tour operator in Pizzo Calabro, overlooking the Tyrrhenian Sea.

No one talks

In Calabria, the extent of the ‘Ndrangheta’s reach in the local economy has made it near impossible to eradicate it.

By controlling the bulk of cocaine flowing into Europe, the ‘Ndrangheta has surpassed Sicily’s Cosa Nostra in power and wealth. It has extended far beyond its rural roots and now operates internationally, with illegal gains reinvested in the legitimate economy.

In the area around Vibo Valentia, extortion of local businesses and the fixing of public tenders is also common.

The allegations against those arrested Thursday include the transport and sale of stolen farm machinery to Malta and Romania, police said.

The sting carried out on Thursday extended to other parts of Calabria, Palermo in Sicily and as far as Rome and Milan, police said.

READ ALSO: Meet Nicola Gratteri, the prosecutor leading Italy’s battle against the mafia

In a press conference, anti-mafia prosecutor Nicola Gratteri, whose efforts to defeat the ‘Ndrangheta have forced him to live under police escort for over 30 years, called the group a “fierce mafia syndicate” controlling areas around the tourist resort of Tropea.

Francesco Messina, who leads Italy’s organised crime investigative unit (DAC), cited the economic power of the clan, which relies locally on “substantial” extortion activity.

The “total absence” of complaints to authorities was striking, Messina said, underscoring the ‘Ndrangheta’s power to intimidate.

By Alexandria Sage

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