How to: dealing with highwaymen

Read / lees in : Nederlands

Republic Square Almaty Kazakhstan
An apple a day keeps the highwayman away

Like I promised in a previous post I hereby present to you the manual: ‘How to deal with corrupt police’. In recent years I have had to deal with corrupt police officers many times and through these experiences I’ve been able to finetune my techniques in such a way that I am now able to continue my trip every single time without paying a penny. Of course I don’t want to keep this valuable knowledge from you. The golden rule is: ‘Whatever happens DON’T PAY.’ Obviously because it costs money, and once you start paying you’ll never see the end of it. Moreover, if everybody pays them, they’ll never stop with their malicious practices of course. Apart from that, prevention is better than cure, so it’s best to simply follow the traffic rules. But that’s not always that easy, like in this example. Where they’re trying for the double dip (a speed limit combined with a forbidden to overtake sign, if you keep that speed surely someone will pass you breaking both rules). And even if you comply with all the rules, they can always make something up, trust me!

  1. After you’ve been pulled over you’ll greet the highwayman officer highwayman on duty like all of a sudden you see your long lost best friend in the flesh again. He’s not expecting this, so right of the mark he’s unsure of his next move. Tip: hugging him is not recommended in this stage.
  2. You do not speak his language and under no circumstance will you do any effort to do so. You simply respond in you’re own language to everything he says. Tip: if you’re 100% sure he does not understand your native tongue you can say whatever you like to him as long as you keep smiling and speak in a friendly tone of voice.
  3. Now the copper will ask you for your documents. At the least he will want your drivers license, because he will need it later to blackmail you. Unfortunately you have little choice but to give it to him. Tip: Bring more than one international drivers license.
  4. Next the crook will show you a list of infractions and the corresponding fines. Because you can’t read their language he will point out one with an incredibly high fine. Tip: now you shrug your shoulders like you don’t care/like you’re not impressed. Act relaxed, he’s not used to that.
  5. Now we’re at a difficult stage for your adversary, because he now has to make clear to you that the situation can be fixed by making a donation to his family. This is not so easy for him, because it’s illegal of course, but also because you don’t understand a word of what he’s saying. At this point it’s important to stall as much as you can because cars are passing by all the time and he can pull them all over. So time is money for these cockroaches. Convey that you have no plans of paying him, deny that you did anything wrong (which most of the time is true), and of course you still don’t understand a word he’s saying.
  6. He’s playing his trump card, he makes clear to you that you’re not getting your drivers license back until you pay up. Because you have more than one in your car, you really don’t give a shit. He will notice your indifference and it makes him feel uncomfortable. Yesterday I had one that tried to convince me that for crossing a continuous line the penalty was confiscation of my drivers license for a whole year. So I said: ‘That’s allright, Lucía will have to drive from now on then’. He then gave up and let me go.
  7. At some point you might have to indicate that you understand that it’s going to cost you money. Now you see smiling faces all around again. But not for long!
  8. You are now left with two options:
    1. In sign language you’ll ask for the written citation and the address of the nearest police station where you can pay the fine. Of course this is not what they want, but it is not so easy for a police officer to refuse to you to obey the law. Because he will not make any money that way, after some more beating around the bush, he’ll give you back you drivers license and let you drive off without paying. He already spent way to much time on you anyway.
    2. This one is more fun. After you’ve agreed upon a price and while he is already thinking about how he is going to spend the money, you pull out your credit card and ask where they’ve hidden the terminal. The smile on his mug vanishes as quickly as it appeared, and after you’ve convinced him that you’re not carrying any cash you’re on your way again (after all, you can’t take blood from a stone). Tip: after he gives you the stop sign, hand over all your cash to your shotgun without him noticing. Once I tried to pay him off with 10 Fiji Dollars so he would spend a good deal of time trying to change those (because you can only get them changed in Fiji, which regrettably he realized)

After this show they usually weasel themselves out of the situation by telling you that you’re a guest of his country and he’s giving you a break. But whenever I receive guests  I don’t first ask them money, only to say goodbye to them with some bullshit story when I found out they don’t have any money. I learned to have fun with them by making them believe that they’re going to get money and then in the end leaving them none the wiser. But if you get pulled over up to six times a day you’re losing quite a bit of time, therefore I’ve worked out a fast-track solution. You basically explain as fast as you can that you really want to pay but that you were pulled over 50 kilometers back and his colleagues there took all your money. This is an excuse so plausible that you’re back on your way to your next highwayman before you can even say: ‘Corruption’.

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