Police Scams in Asia?
I’ve been lucky enough to not get caught up in any police scams in Asia the past 3 years. In fact I have had almost no dealings with the police at all.
In Sihanoukville one time a cop came in and I was walking through the bar to leave and Cute Hotel Chic jokingly told him I had drugs. Wasn’t really a joke I thought was very funny and I let her know that later, but the cop didn’t do anything.
My other two encounters with cops were in Manila and happened two days apart. The first time I was at Burgos and a cop car pulled up to me and they asked me where I was going. I said meeting some friends and they said ok. They asked how I liked Manila and I said it was nice and it was just a polite chat. Afterwards I told them they made me really nervous which was probably not a smart thing to say. I can be too honest at times.
Then a few days later I am walking around Ermita waiting for a bus from Swagman Hotel to Angeles. I had an hour or two to kill so I walked around the city and got approached by a few guys offering girls. I was not interested but one guy would not stop following me. I inquired about the where and prices even though I had no interest (no really, I had no interest! My bus was leaving soon!) and eventually he stops following me.
Maybe twenty meters after he stopped following me there were some cops in an unmarked SUV whose rear view mirrors just happened to have a perfect view of all of this. They asked me what I was talking to him about and I said “he was asking me if I wanted to do something that I didn’t want to do.”
They asked me what I was doing and I said waiting for a bus at Swagman. The driver said ok and it sounded like I was free to go and then the other one asked for my passport. I started to explain that it was in Swagman but the driver (who I think was the superior) said no it’s ok and that was the end of it. It wouldn’t surprise me if that was some sort of a scam based on the perfect positioning of their car next to the “casa” with the girls, but I am not sure.
What to Do if a Cop Knocks on your Door
Even though I have never been scammed I know a few people who have had cops knock on their door. I have also read about these situations a lot and everyone seems to say the same things. The most important thing to do is keep your cool and smile. Don’t get confrontational or he may lose face and if that happens a simple money grab may turn in to your worst nightmare.
You also want to make sure you get things done right then and there. If you have to go down to the station you may lose your chance to pay off the bribe, or the bribe will get bigger as more people get involved. They may also jack everything from your place while you are locked up.
So just open the door, have a polite conversation with the officer and see what he says. Tell him that you want to try and make things right and offer him a small sum of a few thousand pesos. He may say that’s not enough and if that’s the case raise it up to something like 8k or 10k and tell him that is all you have. He will very likely take it. What are his other options? He is doing this to get paid, and if he takes you to the station he won’t be the one getting the bribe.
Thoughts on police scams in Asia? Let me know in the comments.