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  #16  
Old 24 Jan 2008
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Understanding the Good the Bad and the Truth about Police

For your consideration and advice on avoiding tickets and bribes.

My thoughts regarding the existence of bad, corrupt
police that not only instigate crime but commit crimes
themselves exactly mirror my thoughts regarding
humanity in general.

Here is what I believe. I believe survival on this
planet is much more difficult than it has to be
because of a very few really bad people. Somewhere
around 80% of all human beings are not only surviving
but actively assisting others to survive. This vast
majority of people believe they can make it and others
can make it too, and if they can lend a hand to
others, they will. and when others do well in life it
is no threat to them. These are people who can start,
change and stop their behaviors at will, These are
"normal" people who understand the anatomy of control.
Which is of course the ability to start, change or
stop.

Now in order to understand the police one must
understand the main function of the police, which is
to prevent or stop things from happening. .
Therefore, after a while as a police officers who is
Repetitively preventing or stopping things, surrounded
by other police officers who are stopping things too,
he or she if not already having been selected by the
police application procedures as a stopper, becomes a
stopper.

Society needs, as part of its control responsibily,
stoppers.

I have successfully avoided several speeding tickets
by simply sitting in the car with bowed head and
saying to the police officer now at my car window...,
"we really need to stop speeders, don't we"
Immediately their was such affinity and apparent
sharing of reality the officer would not or could
not give me a ticket. I have passed this on to many
others and all who have tried it, have confirmed my
results.

Unfortunately, some police, (cultures designated
stoppers) have also been involved in situations where
their very life depended on their ability of stopping
something from happening. This confirms the fact to
them that their very life depends on their ability to
stop things.

I believe, and this is validated by actual statistics
of police corruption, much goes unreported, that
between 5 and 6% of US police are corrupt and
committing crimes against society. This group of bad
police contaminate and recruit from the other 15% or
so of the police who do not fall into the 80% I
believe are good people doing a tough job to the best
of their ability.

Unfortunately, the best "stoppers" are the ones who
get promoted and assume the leadership over large
groups of other police. Now remember, police in
general are not starters nor changers, just look at
the stats on any activity started and run by police
like Project DARE which has, by carefully weighted
scientific statistics created more drug use and drug dealing
thanwould have been expected if the program did not exist.
this is fact. Or, consider the comical failures of every
police run community event, they can't even have their
own athletic leagues or police balls (social events)
picnics etc...because they are all trying to stop
these things from happening. I am not inventing this,
several reputable books have been written on this very
topic.

I am not sure we can even expect our police to be the
innovative starters and changers of societal behavior,
but if there is anything, even things beneficial
starting or even beneficial changings occuring in a
community you can expect the police to be right on
the scene to stop it. The court systems which also operate
as stoppers of behavior, not starters of good behavior nor
changers of society for the better.

So to directly answer your question for both North
America and Argentina I believe about 5% of the police
are corrupt and committing crimes against society and
that about 15% are in some way involved by the crime
of omission (not reporting the bad police) or minimal
participation in the commission of crimes against
society, and 80% are good men and woman trying to do
what is right.

One might say 80% really want to help others survive.

I am, in the final analysis a starter of projects and
a changer and yes, if I have to I can stop things too,
so by nature I have very little in common with the
police, and represent a threat to them once they get
to know me. You might be a threat to police if you
appear to be anything but a stopper too.

This might be a good time to point out that I do agree
that every culture needs stoppers, This is an
unfortunate reality that has been created by a
relatively few really bad people.

And, look what
happened to Senator Robert Kennedy because, as United
States Attorney General, he was prosecuting the
mafia/police connections in various cities throughout
North America. Even the stoppers get stopped.

There is a wealth of documentation
about this existing corrupt connection between governments
and mafia, the police are just caught in the middle.

I have no need or desire to be creative to be creative here,
the truth is strange enough. xfiltrate

Last edited by xfiltrate; 24 Jan 2008 at 01:18.
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  #17  
Old 24 Jan 2008
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I agree completely with Skip - why do people pay these "fines"? If there is a genuine offense committed then fair enough but some of the outrageous fines that these cops try on foreign motorists are obvious scams. Some locals would never earn as much in a month or more. Some travelers are so damned stupid in this regard that I have little sympathy for them but do for the next guy that comes by. What motivates this eagerness to pay?

I had no real problems in Central and South America and this came as a surprise given the number of posts on the subject of corruption.

Whether this one counts as a scam I don't really know. The border between El Salvador and Honduras cost me $50 which I am led to believe is higher than you are supposed to pay officially - not really sure which category this one falls into. This was always a notoriously dirty border a couple of years back.

I have a couple of things I do to keep on the side of the cops. Firstly I tell them I am a cop back in the UK - this develops a mutual understanding and respect from whoever you are dealing with. Apparently I can look a bit like a rozzer (suitable height, no pony tail etc etc).

My second recommendation is to keep a good selection of documents - colour scanned copies in your riding jacket pocket. That way you don't need to get off the bike and gives them something to keep them occupied. This one works really well. I had the misfortune to have a serious accident in Chile that resulted in my license being taken by the local police until the matter came to court. I had to ultimately leave the country without a license but despite another 5 months in South America in Argentina, Paraguay, Brazil, Uruguay, Venezuela and Colombia I never needed the original again.

Peru was fine for me - hardly got stopped at all. The north east of Argentina was the most obvious attempt at corruption but it was really rare in my experience. The old white sheet and fire extinguisher trick. It's just not convincing but I met a German biker who had just handed over $200US!! as I was pulled over. We talked about life as a cop in the UK and shook hands and that was it. So I left 16 months in South America without paying a bribe or silly fine.

I do wonder though what would happen if you refused to pay in certain circumstances.......

Have a good time in Peru - some damned good riding to be had there.
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  #18  
Old 26 Jan 2008
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Depends on the situation...

In all my travels in L.America, i've paid a total of three bribes for a total of about $73. The first was in Panama for speeding. I was clocked doing 110 KPH in a 60 zone and was written an $80 ticket. I convinced the officer to write me a cheaper ticket for $25. I call it a bribe because i think the officer likely kept the money for himself. The second was in Colombia for not having the required insurance. It's cheaper to bribe the police than it is to buy the insurance. It cost me $23 for over 2 months of riding. The latest was recently while entering Mexico City. I was pulled over and surrounded by four cops on bikes. They demanded $300, i paid $25. This was fear induced, i didn't believe they were cops. Fake police is a well known problem in DF, $25 was a small price to pay to get out of what could of been a really BAD situation. If i break the law, i'll pay a fine or a bribe...thats just what you do down here. Corruption started with the church over 500 years ago, it's just the way things are and it's best to work within the system. If a cop tries to extort money from me and my life doesn't feel in danger, then i refuse to pay, or play the game so to speak. I always carry documents that are easily sacrificeable, and never give my passport. Just refuse! Give them a copy or another form of ID, or insist on going to the hotel or police station and show it there. Don't let them search your bags, insist you go the the station first. The most common trick is "eg. Nicaragua.. you will have to pick up your licence in Managua and pay a fine... or you can pay me and i'll give you your licence now. "
"No, keep the licence, i'll go to Managua tomorrow." They really hate that! I carry two IDL's for this reason and just show them the expired one...they're usually too stupid to figure it out. Let them keep the licece, or just before you leave, ask for it back. They gave me mine! It's way too easy to just say DON'T PAY! It's also pretty easy to slag those who do, but every situation is different, and if your really breaking the law, well, what would you expect of others traveling in your own country?
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  #19  
Old 26 Jan 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Ron View Post
It's way too easy to just say DON'T PAY! It's also pretty easy to slag those who do, but every situation is different....
I'm with you here. I am weary of reading posts from those who "would never pay a bribe no matter what." Notwithstanding the general rules for negotiating such matters—don't be in a hurry, treat it like a game, feign indifference and absence of language skills, claim penury, ask about their homes and families in between complimenting their spoken English, etc.—there are times when your life is worth little, and both you and they know this. Often enough, you are conducting business with people who play by a different set of rules from your average lazy, grafting cop.

For me, the moment came when I found myself alone in middle-of-night darkness in northern Cote d'Ivoire just before the civil war began. A large man was berating me at close range and high volume, demanding money—no polite inquiries about cadeaux, no pretended traffic infractions or missing paperwork. When I realized I was standing on a string of .50 calibre machine gun bullets, the gun in question being trained on our transport, I relented and gave him a couple of dollars. No one who was not standing with me has the right to tell me I should have held out longer, or demanded a receipt or a trip to the police station.

Having said that, of course I agree that by paying readily you make life immeasurably more difficult for all those who follow; it's the adult equivalent of the package tourists who strew "bonbons" and "stylos" among the children wherever they go. I've spent a couple of years altogether traveling rough in the developing world, mostly in Africa, and I've paid just two bribes including the incident above. That seems to me a worthy record.

Safe travels all!

Mark
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  #20  
Old 26 Jan 2008
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Hey Mark. Wow, we used to be neighbors! i'm living in Mexico now. Agreed, sometimes its a better idea to just pay. Life can be cheap down here! I do agree that we shouldn't feed the beast though. If you don't break the law and your life isn't in danger, don't feed the beast! The most important thing is to NEVER let them search your bags on the side of the road, unless they give you no other option, like arresting you and taking your keys and opening it themselves. It's a well known fact the police like to plant drugs in your bags, or even in your passport and demand $MUCHO DINERO$ ! Basicly, your f**ked! In many hotels in Quito, i saw postings in english warning travelers about this, and to never show your passport in the street, only in your hotel, Or to use a photo-copy.
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  #21  
Old 30 Jan 2008
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A consideration

I second Mr. Ron's observations of corruption in Mexico.

The following is based upon more than 12 years of living in Mexico, Central America and South America.

Another favorite Mexican scam is to conceal a small child under a sarape (colored blanket) in the boot (trunk) of a taxi, pick up tourists and their back packs/luggage, deposit the back packs/luggage in the boot. En route to the tourist's destination the small child opens the tourist's gear and replaces valuables with packets of marijuana. Also en route, the cab driver calls his local police buddy who manages to be at the tourist's destination for the purpose of examining tourist's gear for contraband.

The Mexican's win. Game over.

Now, here is another point of view regarding bribes and begging. Paying a bribe to police is like paying a persistent beggar to go away and leave you alone. Bottom line, you are paying each of them to go away. If you think of each peso/dollar etc. as a vote, you are voting for more corrupt police and more beggars.

But, if your body, bike or gear is in imminent danger from which you cannot immediately withdraw or comfortably talk you way out of, your vote for more corrupt police and/or beggars is well cast. xfiltrate

Last edited by xfiltrate; 30 Jan 2008 at 20:30. Reason: grammar
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  #22  
Old 30 Jan 2008
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Some Cops are good in Peru!!!

I meet the best Cop of my South American trip in Peru!

I stopped once to have a drink in a small store in the middle of the day. Inside there were 3 Cops drinking . They invited me over to drink with them. They paid all the s

What can you ask for more? The cops paying you the . No way it is going to happen in Canada!!!

Patrick
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  #23  
Old 30 Jan 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PatOnTrip View Post
I meet the best Cop of my South American trip in Peru!

I stopped once to have a drink in a small store in the middle of the day. Inside there were 3 Cops drinking . They invited me over to drink with them. They paid all the s

What can you ask for more? The cops paying you the . No way it is going to happen in Canada!!!

Patrick
I feel sorry for the poor bastard they extorted the money from to buy those s!
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  #24  
Old 2 Feb 2008
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I can give a couple easy tips to drive "under the radar".. first.. if you have a shiny, brand new 1200gs, I'm sure you MUST be pulled out and tried to ticket you.. is logic.. always leave your bike as dirty as you can mount...
Second.. if you don't speak spanish (and even if you speak) don't say nothing!! just smile and say "no comprendo".. at any moment they need to call an official or release you...
Other good tips (specially in Peru) is contact bike's club; they really LOVE ride whit foreigners and can show you the city and hang up.. VERY friendly people and generally they're NOT stop big bike's concentrations.
One last tip.. busy hours are between 9 am to 6 pm; I don't say you cannot be stopped at night or early in morning, I say is less possible..
I ALWAYS stop to say "hello" in previous police's post then they know me when I reach big city (all post have radios and cellular and they rely this type of information); even sometimes when I don't have money for hotel they allowed me sleep in jail (very funny!)
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  #25  
Old 2 Feb 2008
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Iv not been pulled by bent coppers yet but iv only done Argentina and chile upto now.. The matter of dodgy police is a worry in the future though, especially on the way to Iguazu and when im in Peru.

Im planning to just have my "muggers" wallet with a few pesos, a cancelled debit card and a fake licience in it...all my cash and original licience will be hidden away in my money belt.

If im stopped, ill pull out my wallet with the few low value notes cleary visible to the filth.

If they ask for cash, ill show what I have or show my "cancelled" credit card...

They can have just have my 10 pesos or i will offer to pay by VISA (which i doubt they will go for) ... When i finally ride off, ill top up my wallet with another few low value notes for the next time or just say "your friend the other police man already took all my money, i need to use an ATM"

The "no comprendo" trick will be used because its true

Think this will work ??????????????????????
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  #26  
Old 2 Feb 2008
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Originally Posted by garrobito View Post
I can give a couple easy tips to drive "under the radar".. first.. if you have a shiny, brand new 1200gs, I'm sure you MUST be pulled out and tried to ticket you.. is logic.. always leave your bike as dirty as you can mount...
Second.. if you don't speak spanish (and even if you speak) don't say nothing!! just smile and say "no comprendo".. at any moment they need to call an official or release you...
Other good tips (specially in Peru) is contact bike's club; they really LOVE ride whit foreigners and can show you the city and hang up.. VERY friendly people and generally they're NOT stop big bike's concentrations.
One last tip.. busy hours are between 9 am to 6 pm; I don't say you cannot be stopped at night or early in morning, I say is less possible..
I ALWAYS stop to say "hello" in previous police's post then they know me when I reach big city (all post have radios and cellular and they rely this type of information); even sometimes when I don't have money for hotel they allowed me sleep in jail (very funny!)
A good post there Garo - I can identify with most, if not all, of what you say. They are universal in their application, anywhere in the world!

As just one instance, the "speedy" riders in the UK get to know exactly when the police change shifts and they get out onto their local favourite routes as this happens.

Ted,
You'll get by just talking about Liverpool FC, all in scouse of course (no quarter to be given on the language thing) - not doing too well at present though!! You may need that plan B.
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  #27  
Old 3 Feb 2008
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I drove down to Trujillo today. The police are parked watching the highway in every town, but I didnt have any problems. When they didnt look occupied I waved at them and I stopped a few times to ask them directions and they were very friendly.

I guess my duck taped bike and 20 year old sun faded Aerostich jacket are helping.
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  #28  
Old 3 Feb 2008
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Originally Posted by gatogato View Post
I drove down to Trujillo today. The police are parked watching the highway in every town, but I didnt have any problems. When they didnt look occupied I waved at them and I stopped a few times to ask them directions and they were very friendly.

I guess my duck taped bike and 20 year old sun faded Aerostich jacket are helping.
ahhh trujillo!!! la ciudad jardin (the garden city)
coming from south is all desert then you find trujillo...

you really make me laugh my friend!!! enjoy that city!! and yes.. I suspect you're old mechanics friend is a very dissuasive force at time they stop you...
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  #29  
Old 6 Feb 2008
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Polite but Firm

Pays to be respectful, but firm that you won't pay because it is not right. It is just how things are done, but if you are courteous, but firm, they will give up and send you on your way. Having lived and rode in Peru most of my life I have found that being their friend is the easiest way out. Forget your schedule, sit down at the roadside stand and invite them for a Coke!

This last trip Peru-Brazil-Bolivia-Peru we made up T-shirts with our trip on them and "celebrated" every time we were stopped by giving a shirt away to our "new friend". Never had to pay a bribe in 6,000 miles!

Also speak good Spanish and stay away from Lima!

Toby Around the Block 2007 |
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  #30  
Old 13 Feb 2008
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Very interesting reading all & obviously stirred some thoughts, ta, much food for pondering ...

Now in Peru & wanted to wait until I had experienced said action ... bottom line is that around Barranca seems to be the trouble spot.

Riding from Huaraz to Ancon (south) we were stopped 4 times within 70 km (about 20km from the Pan Am on the Huaraz road and for approx 50 km along the Pan Am), with some less subtle than others in looking for funding.

Only 1 was very persistent up to the point where I almost left my gecko´s tail license and that took 30 mins of debate. Withholding the license & writing up a ticket after showing me a spanish rulebook looked koshe except that I hadnt been speeding & they wouldn´t have known without any measuring kit. The fine was 10% of UIT (some form of local community tax I think), and by the cops calculations that was 10% of 3400 soles, or around $100. The ruse was blown when I was offered a pay now fee of $50, as up until then it appeared that they wanted to process me officially.

Further north & south of this zone I´ve had no trouble & police are very polite & courteous. Should anything develop from Nasca to Cucso & beyond I will update.

and talking Liverpool FC is just a perfect way out of most situations

btw the Canyon Del Pato is a top ride, top tip Albert, and the rode south from Huaraz is a dream

Cheers
Scouse
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