RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (Reuters) - Two police officers from a special unit designed to help tourists have been arrested for extorting money from two foreigners in the violent Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro, officials said on Friday.
Not satisfied with about $260 they got from the tourists on Thursday night in the middle of Rio's famous Copacabana beach for allegedly possessing drugs, they accompanied the Czech and the U.S. citizen to their hotel to get more money.
A spokesman for the Rio state security secretariat said the tourists alerted hotel security guards who called the police and the two officers were arrested on the spot.
The spokesman said the two arrested officers were from the special Tourist Police Battalion.
The trouble started for the tourists when they were sitting in a beach kiosk-bar. They apparently had received a pack of leaflets from a person handing out flyers on the beach when they were immediately approached by the two officers, who accused them of having drugs in the package.
"There is no investigation or case against the tourists," the state security spokesman said.
The officers were charged with exceeding their authority and an investigation is under way to determine if they planted drugs on the tourists.
This is pretty scary. It's a good thing that the hotel security guys were on the up-and-up. It's scary enough traveling overseas without local authorities going crooked on you, trying to set you up.