Journalist, Police ID to get you past corrupt cops?

Discussion in 'Latin America' started by Nata Harli, Nov 22, 2009.

  1. crashmaster

    crashmaster ow, my balls!

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    I think that would be a useful thread. At least it would give you a little time to prepare your skit, well if porn and cigarettes dont do the trick.:rofl

    I've rarely had trouble (that I didnt deserve) with the cops in Mexico. But if you ride with these guys, the cops dont even pay attention to you. In addition, I have never been simply waved through so many military checkpoints in my life. It was a nice change of pace.

    legionarios.jpg
    #81
  2. Lone Rider

    Lone Rider Registered User

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    Nice pic. :thumb
    #82
  3. Nata Harli

    Nata Harli Accidental Tourista

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    I'm trying to figure out where you got the idea I'm "scared" to travel south of the border. My last trip was from Panama to the U.S. by myself. I met up with riders along the way, but it was a trip I planned to take by myself for the most part. In fact, I traveled from Guatemala to the U.S. border by myself.

    I would much rather travel south of the border than in the U.S. I actually feel safer down there. In fact, I've never had one bad incident in my 6 trips south of the border. I've survived numerous military checkpoints with no problems. I admire and respect the kids who are manning those posts and realize they are just doing a job. And doing it quite well from my perspective.

    However, I'm not dumb or naive enough to think there are not problems that one might encounter. Has anyone here ever ridden through or around Managua without being stopped numerous times by corrupt local cops? It just doesn't happen. You can count on it and need to prepare for it.

    The only purpose of this thread was to float some ideas of how to deal with corrupt cops without having to bribe them $20 (like most in Managua ask for - but getting stopped 5 times and pay $20 each time adds up) or getting ripped for $200 like the guy Bananaman met did.

    Please don't attempt to look into my mind and think I'm "scared" to motor south. That's not the point of this thread. It's just a thread to explore ways to fight the corruption of the cops south of the border.

    My next planned big trip on my bike is to fly my bike to Colombia, spend a month there studying Spanish, then head south towards TDF. 4-6 months. By myself. And, I will be celebrating my 70th birthday right before I leave. "Scared?" I don't think so.
    #83
  4. bananaman

    bananaman transcontimental

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    :clap :clap :clap :clap :clap
    #84
  5. Pedro Navaja

    Pedro Navaja Long timer

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    I think most of us read that as the proverbial you, not the specific you as in Nata Harli.
    #85
  6. Nata Harli

    Nata Harli Accidental Tourista

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    OOPS, my apologies if I misread that. :hide

    I guess it just got my mojo machismo masculinity in high gear.
    #86
  7. Tricepilot

    Tricepilot Bailando Con Las Estrellas Super Moderator Super Supporter

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    :thumb

    That is absolutely where James was coming from. I'm sure he's well aware of who Ken is and has total respect for him. I've talked to him many times off-line...his comments were generic and targeted to the broader audience.
    #87
  8. Pedro Navaja

    Pedro Navaja Long timer

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    Nata Harli,

    You and James would get along great. I was just out with him the other night after his return from Ecuador. We were at a tapas bar. His Spanish is clean and accent-less. Remarkable for a Gringo. Not only that he was BS'ing with some of the El Salvadoran staff there about their various hometowns as he knows that country very well in addition to several others in Latin America. He's been on motorcycles since he was a 5 y/o and wrenches them all. Including pre-WW2 ones. He does real adventure stuff like pan for gold in the Amazon and flies kit-planes, like the kind John Denver bought the farm in, and does other off the wall shit. He just doesn't post much so I have nick-named The Stealth Rider :D
    #88
  9. Tricepilot

    Tricepilot Bailando Con Las Estrellas Super Moderator Super Supporter

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    Not so fast, the man isn't pure

    James likes fritos mashed in cream cheeze on rye bread

    :ilmostro
    #89
  10. Reryder

    Reryder Onward through the fog...

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    As an experienced journalist and third-world traveller I share ColumbiaGS's disgust at pretenders - except for fake journalists more than fake cops.
    Every asshat calling himself a journalist justs makes it harder for the real ones to do our jobs. And no, posting on a website does not make you a journalist.

    And my experience has been - and this is in Mid-East, Asia and Africa rather than South America - that being identified as a journalist sends authorities into overdrive. They want to see all your photos, all your gear, escort you every where, assume you are CIA until proved otherwise etc etc. In fact, whenever I can I put my occupation on entry visa forms as "computer operator". It just makes life a lot easier than saying you are a journalist.

    And man, I would not want to get caught in a Third World country for impersonating a police officer. Even the most remote places these days have phones and the internet. So easy for some zealous official to check out your story and if it comes up a dud, you could be in a world of sh*t - read Third-World jail.
    #90
  11. Nata Harli

    Nata Harli Accidental Tourista

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    Chango, Pedro, trice, et. al.,

    :doh Well, it sounds like I was a little out of line and I apologize. I'd like to blame it on a lack of coffee, or anything, cause I'm kind of embarrassed right now. :baldy But, thanks for setting me straight.

    That being said, I hope I haven't offended anyone that much that we can't have a beer if we meet someday. I'd really like to meet up with everyone contributing to this thread that I don't already know whether we agree or not.

    Mea culpa, mea culpa. :pope
    #91
  12. Nata Harli

    Nata Harli Accidental Tourista

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    Inquiring minds want to know.

    I was a Criminal Investigator for the IRS (I know, I know) back in the 70s. I quit because I hated it so much but, I've still got my old badge and ID and even some of my old business cards.

    Now, don't get upset because I don't plan on using any of those. I never have. But, you say it would be easy for them to check me out if they wanted. So, let's take those corrupt cops in Peru that Bananaman and the other guy ran across. OK, for some reason or another, I show them my badge and tell them I'm retired. I'm really curious how those cops would be able to check out my story.

    I don't think anywhere in this thread I've said I actually plan on using the fake cop or fake journalist idea. I just started this to get some ideas of what everyone thinks. But I'd really like to know how those cops could check out my story.
    #92
  13. PunkinHead

    PunkinHead Moobless Adventurer Supporter

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    They'd turn their back to you for a second. If you stole their wallets then made them fill out 47 forms in triplicate to get a small percentage of their money back they'd know your story was legit.
    #93
  14. Reryder

    Reryder Onward through the fog...

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    Being a retired IRS investigator might work - that is not fake, for you that is a statement of fact. Easy enough for a cop anyplace to pic up a phone and talk to the IRS, saying they have one of their investigators here...

    But that is not what you were talking about in your original post. You were talking about fabricating a whole identity:

    QUOTE:
    I've found several authentic looking police IDs on the web. Photoshop is a pretty good tool. See where I'm going with this?

    Find a nice, hi-res picture of an ID, or ask your best friend who happens to be a cop. Put a copy of said ID in something like Photoshop, crop the picture out and put yours in. Print and laminate a bunch of them and carry them with you. When you get stopped, flash your "official" police ID and act like the guy who stopped you is your long lost brother.

    Also, before you leave, go to a costume shop, rent a cop's uniform, put it on and find a police station, police car/motorcycle, and take you picture in front of it. Carry that picture with you, also, to show to your new law enforcement brother.

    Finally, print a decal that says something like "International Order of Law Enforcement Officers" and put that on your bike somewhere.

    END QUOTE

    In my experience in Third World countries, your original scenario would be ill advised. It could get you out of some trouble, but it could land you in jail too. I've been in those jails for not being quite honest with the authorities over little matters like bringing in undeclared US dollars in cash, or even just taking photos on a road that led to a police training camp, therefore I must have been a spy. Believe me you dont want to go there to those jails.


    I think anything that encourages less experienced world travellers to start playing these games is downright irresponsible. It ain't a game out there. Things can get real nasty real quick. Impersonating an officer will get you locked up. Some cop in the back of nowhere CAN pick up a phone and talk to cops in the US or wherever and check out your story.
    Then if they get real paranoid and decide you are a spy, which is likely if they catch you pretending to be a cop or journalist, you are off to their equivalent of Gitmo. Only their version is not so nice.

    You want to take a chance of having some guy walk into your cell with a pair of pliers and a screw driver and ask you which you prefer to be dismantled with, go ahead and play silly games with them.

    You may think that is an exaggeration, and thousands of riders have been through these countries without seeing this kind of thing. But when you live in those countries for years like I have, you learn just how common place that kind of thing is.


    I say it again, imitating a cop in a Third World country is a really dangerous idea that will cause more problems than it will solve.



    .




    #94
  15. bananaman

    bananaman transcontimental

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    This is Ken playing nice. In real life he was too tough to be an IRS investigator. In real life, he's tough as nails- probably one of the toughest, craziest SOB's I've ever met.

    1) You don't know squat about Central and South America, so STFU.
    2) Central America and South America aren't "3rd World."
    3) The cops stop big motorcycles because only rich people and/or foreign travelers ride big motorcycles. The cops are corrupt. Do anything you can do to waste their time.
    4) The best defense is a quick call to your embassy. I've advised in previous threads to have every embassy phone number handy in several places, especially on your person and in your tank bag. Say, "Sure, I'll pay your stupid fucking fine, but first I have to check with my embassy. Will you help me call them, or should I use my SAT phone? I've already pressed "Help" on my SPOT, three times in a row, which indicates to them my precise location and the fact that I'm stopped by a corrupt fucking cop." (Note- your SPOT doesn't have to be real, or subscribed, but it should have enough battery power so that the little blinky lights blink.)
    5) I particularly loathe "real journalists." Our posts here on advrider are extremely valuable- way more valuable to our sub-culture than mass-media bullshit. To disparage us as "fake" journalists, on this board, is hypocr- ah, fuck it. It's just more bullshit.
    #95
  16. Reryder

    Reryder Onward through the fog...

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    1. Nice to meet you too.
    2. They are. Look it up. Although I guess it is the Developing World in PC speak.
    3. Those same cops will waste a lot of your time if they search your gear and find a cop ID after you already told them you are an auto mechanic or bank worker or whatever, or if you try the "I'm a cop" routine and they see through it, which is easily done.
    4. The sat phone and embassy routine is probably far more useful than a fake ID.
    5. Once again, nice to meet you too. And I agree that posts on this website are extremely useful. So is common civility.
    #96
  17. Nata Harli

    Nata Harli Accidental Tourista

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    Thanks, son, for stickin up for your old man!


    No sense in beating around the bush, eh?
    #97
  18. Pedro Navaja

    Pedro Navaja Long timer

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    Hey! Only us Latinos, or adopted Latinos can call it 3rd World. Gawd are we assholes or what? :rofl
    #98
  19. Nata Harli

    Nata Harli Accidental Tourista

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    WTF? OK, Mr. "Real Journalist", tell me just what number the cop by the side of the road is going to call to verify that I work for the IRS? Oh, right, he's got that number in his rolodex.

    Come on, now. Just put the phone number out there for everyone to see. Surely you have as much access to that type of information as some cop sitting by the side of the road outside of Lima or Managua, don't you. I'm not saying someone in authority couldn't eventually check you out. But the Lima cop standing by the side of the road?

    I agree with some of your points, but this one is absolutely ridiculous.

    And, what happened to our discussion of being an "Official Leper Colony Inspector"? That sounded like an idea that had wheels. How did we get so off track and serious?

    Or, instead of being a journalist, how about telling the cops you are writing a book and want to be sure and include them in it. Ask them to write their names in your journal so you will be sure and spell it correctly. Then take their picture and tell them you want to include pictures, also. Get their email addresses and/or home addresses so you can notify them when the book is going to be published and so that you can mail them a copy. And, as a special favor to them, you will only charge them $200 for a signed copy of your book.

    OK, how many legitimate authors out there have I offended? Do you suppose I have offended the Striking Viking? Stephen King? Ian Rankin?

    This might be the funnest thread I have ever started! :lol3 But, I think there are several people out there who might not be familiar with the term "brainstorming".:deal
    #99
  20. Reryder

    Reryder Onward through the fog...

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    Well, they can call back to police HQ in the captital city and detain you while someone at HQ calls the relevant international law enforcement authorities etc - for which they do have the numbers. You just get to sit there, maybe on the side of the road, maybe in a hotel, or maybe in the lock up, while the wheels of bureaucracy turn at their usual speed.


    Sorry, not sure how I could have missed the part about leper colony inspectors. Dont let me divert you from that good stuff.

    I actually did work in a leper colony once, just outside Darwin, Austalia, and I dont think that would get you far though.