Actually, more of a Hong Kong question

I just made my visa run to Hong Kong. After applying for my visitor’s visa, I figured I’d go and check out the sites so I took the MTR to Tsim Sha Tsui. As I exited the station with about two hundred people, I felt a tapping on my shoulder. A soldier was standing in back of me.

Excuse me, where are you going?


Yes, that is Kowloon, but why are you going there?

I wanted to do some shopping.

Do you you know anyone here?


Can I see a contact number?

Um…I’ll see if I can find it. I thoroughly searched my bag, pushing the notepad of contact numbers further into the bottom. I’m sorry, I can’t seem to find it.

Can I take a look?


(He took a brief look in my bag)

Can I see your travel documents?

I’m sorry. I’m just a tourist. Why are you asking me all these questions?

Do you have your travel documents?

My passport is at a visa office.

I think you should come with me.

Can I just tell my friend? He’s downstairs.

Okay. Hurry up. He started talking on his walkie talkie.

As soon as I got around the corner, I booked it for the turnstyles and caught the next train back to Hong Kong. I didn’t leave me hotel room for the rest of the night.

What did he want with some American rube holding a Lonely Planet travel book anyway?

Shit mate, you must’ve been looking fairly dodgy :shock:

Wow. :shock: More details - What time was it? Were you near Chungking Mansions? That’s a notorious drug and prostitution area.

Wow, I would never have thought that could happen. You said the guy was a soldier? Are you sure he wasn’t a cop or an immigration department guy? The soldier thing doesn’t make sense. What color was his uniform? HK police uniforms look a bit like military uniforms (OD green). I go down there all the time to have Indian food or to shop for books. I’ve never once been stopped there, or anywhere in HK. If you don’t mind me asking, are you non-caucasian? This could have something to do with it.

What amazes me about this situation is that he didn’t just first ask to see your travel document. Why does he want to know where you’re going? Why do you need to have contact numbers or acquaintances? The lack of a travel document shouldn’t have been a problem, either. Tons of foreigners go down there to get visas. The travel agency says that the police generally won’t give you a problem for not having a travel document on you if you just show them the receit for the visa application.

I had a very close call in the Chunking a fews years back. I rocked up fairly hammered from the flight, had my fill of curry and then got swayed by a tout to check some smoke. Standing in a stairwell with the guy trying really hard to push eee on me. Outrageously cheap at that time. I was just after a stash to idle away my visa wait. Next thing through the door came 6 of HK’s finest. They immediately seperated us and one guy asked me if I’d received anything from the tout. I hadn’t and was pretty cocky - dutch courage. He told me this particular tout was bad news and let me go.

Stupidly I immediately colllared another tout and told him what had happened, “that other guy’s bad news”, I was told. Scored, but then about an hour later I was walking nearby when I spotted tout number one. Incredulous I asked him how he’d managed to not get lifted. "Get way from me " he said.

Stupid and spooky.


I’m pretty sure he was a soldier - he had a green uniform with a red beret. He was just standing there watching everyone come out and I guess I fit the profile of whatever he was looking for. I was walking out of Tsim Sha Tsim MTR (I think that’s the name), where Kowloon Park is located. He was friendly but the more I talked, the more I got flustered and I almost didn’t believe myself. He seemed suspicious. I used to get searched a lot getting on to planes from Boston to London and Ireland. I once asked a security guard if I looked sketchy and he just smiled and said “yep.” All my friends say I just look gay. I dunno. I’m not going back to Hong Kong again if I have to though. Bunch of wankers.

Oh yeah, I’m white.

What do you expect?? Hong Kong is in the Communist China’s fist now. Get used to it sooner than later.

Nah, I don’t think I’ll get used to it. Bypassing Hong Kong on my next trip seems like a better a day.

Nah, I don’t think I’ll get used to it. Bypassing Hong Kong on my next trip seems like a better idea.

sorry about that mate.

back in the day, before 1999 HK was a fun place to be. everytime i go back now just makes me sadder and sadder. the place has turned down in a big way.

give it a pass when you can; anything to break “the golden route” monopoly the international chinese keep us locked into.

The soldier you are referring to was probably a private security officer or a thief trying to rob you. He could also have been a PRC soldier trying to make some money in his off time. He was not a police officer.
Even the private security officers in the Hong Kong airport are not allowed to arrest you. Whitney Houston got caught with a joint there a couple of years back and just walked onto her flight. Did he have any identification? All police and security officers are required to have them visible while on duty.
The fact is that the rights of ordinary people in Hong Kong have never really been great. The situation is getting worse everyday. Still nothing compared to what they are in the PRC or even here on Taiwan.
Try contacting the Hong Kong Representative office here and file a report.
This is what I do when an overbearing authority figure starts making request to me. I make the same request right back.
When they ask me to see my ID, I ask to see their ID. Take out a pen and write down their info. If they ask me for a contact number. I ask them for one. Real officials are easily intimidated by accountability for their actions much the same way we are intimated by their uniform and position.
If they refuse scream thief at the top of you voice. If he is a real official he will call for help, if not he runs away.