Police smash Romanian ring

Police have broken up a ring of Romanian human traffickers that is accused of transporting their fellow countrymen into Greece and holding them hostage until they paid the gang a debt that would continually rise. Police arrested 17 members of the gang on Saturday and released 31 Romanians who were being held captive in Athens after being brought into the country. The gang would charge their countrymen 500 euros each for getting them to Greece and setting them up with work. Once this amount was settled, the ring would then demand another 800 euros, keeping the illegal immigrants as prisoners in what police said were squalid conditions. The hostages were threatened at gunpoint or tortured and were only allowed to leave the premises to go to work, police said. They were fed small amounts of bread and water in order to be kept alive, police added. After the settlement of the 800 euro amount, the migrants were allowed to leave but would lose their jobs despite being initially promised work for at least three months.