How do Taiwan's cops REALLY treat us foreigners?

G’day,

I was watching the news the other day and saw some weirdo who’d made a bit of a fuss in front of Ma Ying Zhou, who was out doin his photogenic campaign drive thing at the time. The little bugger had had a few to drink and decided to take off most of his clothes before suddenly jumping in front of the mayor with some sort of altercation in mind. The surprised security guards quickly “ushered” him off the scene, and I thought that’d be the last we’d see of him.

But no, the cameras followed, and a weird scene unfolded, as the police helped him to sit down and rest on a comfy sofa for a while, before helping him to get dressed, and then after he’d sobered-up, again helping him on his way. Very friendly stuff…

Okay, so I was wondering… if that guy had been a foreigner, what would have happened? Now I’ll be the first to admit that the colour of my skin (and the professed inability to speak Chinese) has gotten me off the hook for many-a-traffic-infringement. But what about the more serious stuff, such as drunk and disorderly, or disrupting a public event like the one that happened with the mayor? How would foreigners be treated in this situation?

Cheers,

The Big Babou

A friend of mine was standing in line in rural transtation when a chinaman stepped in front of him cutting line. My friend politely tapped the man on shoulder and told him in chinese that he was cutting line. The chinaman gave him a dirty look. Again my friend repeated his statement taping the chinaman on the shoulder and telling him that he need to get to the back of the line. The chinaman looked at my friend and angrily said “fuck you”.

Out of no where my friend gets hit from behind (fist or back of the hand he wasn’t sure) to which he spun around and was confronted by yet another chinaman. Musta been the guy’s friend or something. The local immediately tried to attack again to which my friend blocked and dropped him by hitting him in the neck.

The line cutter also wanted to brawl but my friend stiffed armed him in the nose, lifting him off his feet, knocking him out cold. It was over in a matter of seconds. My friend was ex-military.

The train station was silent. Standing only 15 feet away were two police men who stared in disbelief. My friend picked up his two bags and walked out of the trainstation. Cops did nothing. My friend got in a cab and left.

Here’s one for you.

Friend approaches on scooter 7-11 to find no place to park. Dismounts, goes and moves a few bikes aside to make a slot. While getting back on his bike to park it, a local cuts into ‘his’ spot. Friend says something, like ‘Hey, I just made that!’, gets a ‘f**k you’ in reply. Altercation follows, but goes nowhere, friend parks somewhere nearby and walks back. Happens to turn to watch passing babe and just misses a large metal pipe being swung at his head. Friend thinks, ‘sod this, this guy is nuts’ and runs across the street into the local cop shop.
The would-be attacker chases him into the police station, screaming he’s gonna kill him. The cops are laughing their asses off, but restrain the lunatic, and throw him out. Friend asks what’s next, no arrest etc.?, and the cops say ‘nothing, but you can hang here for a half-hour or until he leaves’…

This summer I was out in the boonies, stopped at a store which was at an intersection. As I pulled away, a police car appeared and signalled me to stop. The first cop approached the car with his hand hovering over his pistol, but I don’t think they get issued ammo unless there is in fact something going down, or they are on roadblock duty.
Anyway, first cop is fuming all this stuff (in Taiwanese) about ‘Foreigners in Taiwan must have Taiwan licenses’ and other bs while I’m showing my papers to his much calmer colleague. I refrained from speaking Mandarin, but made it clear to him I hadn’t run the red light as the other cop was insisting, but had just pulled away from the curb. Cop #1 was having none of that and started writing up the ticket, even though cop #2 was trying to talk him out it, siding with me. I told them that I wouldn’t take the ticket and if they wanted my money they were going to have to go to court for it, and that I would enjoy being cross-examined by them in English. Cop #1 kept shoving the ticket in my face screaming to take it, but I just stared him down and point-blank refused, saying ‘Mail it to me and I’l see you in court’.
Suffice to say it’s been about 4 months now and no summons arrived so far . :laughing:
But, I’m real careful driving that highway now.

Once I went turned right on red. A cop saw me and stopped me. Of course, I tried to do the “I can’t speak Chinese” thing and asked him what the problem was. He answered me in perfect English, “You know what the problem is, you just went through a red light.” Luckily, I had just picked up my driver’s license from the testing story an hour before, so I explained to him right on red wasn’t on the test and he let me go.

My experience is that they are indifferent at face level. Personal bias for or against laowai living here comes into play after that.

Once during an emergency drill in Taipei (where the cops shut down the major streets and stand on the corners making sure everyone plays by the rules for twenty minutes or so), I saw a heavily tatooed Taiwanese fellow walk brazenly across several streets, right in front of the same cops who had just held everyone else back. Some of the cops told him to knock it off and he cursed them out, then kept walking. I heard the cops next to me muttering that he was a gangster. I asked them why they didn’t stop him, and they told me that it just wasn’t worth it. Not very comforting, but I wasn’t too suprised.

I don’t think it can hurt to be friendly with a few foreign affairs policemen, if you have the opportunity. I’m not sure how much it would actually help me, but a FAP captain in a city I do business in has become a friend, and told me one night that I could call him whenever something came up.

Anyone know how the FA police and the non-FAP cops get along?

The police are a law unto themselves. They know foreigners have no effective means to complain about them. If the Gong An Ju (in China) tried anything like what the Taiwanese police try on resident foreigners, they’d be directing Yak traffic in Ulan Baator by the week’s end.

Taiwan Beer,

Could you explain a little more?

[quote=“The Big Babou”]G’day,

I was watching the news the other day and saw some weirdo who’d made a bit of a fuss in front of Ma Ying Zhou, who was out doin his photogenic campaign drive thing at the time. The little bugger had had a few to drink and decided to take off most of his clothes …

Okay, so I was wondering… if that guy had been a foreigner, what would have happened? Now I’ll be the first to admit that the colour of my skin (and the professed inability to speak Chinese) has gotten me off the hook for many-a-traffic-infringement. But what about the more serious stuff, such as drunk and disorderly, or disrupting a public event like the one that happened with the mayor? How would foreigners be treated in this situation?

Cheers,

The Big Babou[/quote]

Once on the tv news, a big hairy white man lost it and stripped down to nothing in the street. The police showed up did their best to calm him. They gently convinced him to get into a police van. Inside, I suppose, they helped him get his clothes back on.

To tell the truth, I think I’d rather have a panic attack, curse and scream and tear my clothes off in Taiwan than in the USA. In the US, I would likely be beaten, tazered, and cuffed.

I’ve been treated very well by both the FAP and regular police, for 13+ years. :idunno: O’ course, I don’t shuck my clothes in the street. :stuck_out_tongue:

I think the cops are pretty decent here.

Yeah they are pretty incompetent but generally very nice, and if you are polite to them they nearly always reciprocate. A few wankers, sure but in general a decent bunch.

I’ve been pulled over 20+ times and only received 1 ticket, all were in Taipei. (1.5 yrs living in Taichung = never stopped.)

I’ll tell you something, the one ticket that I received there was no negotiation, pleading or charming my way out of that one. I stopped and he started writing. No conversation or questions, I took the 1800 fine and paid it the next day at the 7-11.

For all the others, it depends on how you react as it’s a one-on-one relationship. If you’re respectful and nod and smile, then you’ll be fine. You must be able to read the cops demeanor in the first 3 seconds of the communication. Obviously the no-speaking Mandarin rule comes into play as well.

The last time I got pulled over, I was with my gf riding down XinYi, not to far from XinSheng. I stopped and then proceeded to run through the red light located at the corner of a small lane and Xin Yi.

A cop came cruising up behind me and pulled me over right in front of the grocery store. I got off and he proceeded to lambaste me for about 30 seconds.

“How much is the fine for running a traffic light in America? About 300NT dollars, right?”, he shouted.

I was like, “Yeah something like that.”

He went on to say, if you were in America, blah blah blah. He had a certain bravado and glanced a couple of times over to the grocery store entrance to make sure someone heard him.

After the yelling stopped and I told him I didn’t have a license or any ID, he let me go.

So the point is, as long as you don’t do anything to disrespect the cop, acknowledge his authority when caught, you rarely will have a problem.

Letting people continuously break the law is a bad thing. So is continuously breaking it, mkay ?

Try looking at it from a victim’s view, not a perpetrator’s.

IMHO, the defining characteristic of TW policemen is the same as that of TW bureaucrats everywhere: please, please don’t make me take any responsibility for anything!!

The way you do that (as a policeman or bureaucrat) seems to be:

  1. I can’t do that, that is not within my specific job description. And I’m not going to take the initiative to point you towards someone who could do it, because pointing is not within my specific job description.
  2. This other thing IS within my specific job description, but doing it would then start a chain-reaction of other work, which would displease and inconvenience my colleagues not to mention myself, so couldn’t you just go away?

I haven’t committed any major infractions (to my knowledge) but have always been treated well by the police on minor things like traffic stops (especially when ‘debating’ them in crap Taiwanese, quite useful now that more and more of them speak English!) :smiley:

[quote=“rocky raccoon”]…
So the point is, as long as you don’t do anything to disrespect the cop, acknowledge his authority when caught, you rarely will have a problem.[/quote]

I agree. However, I have seen Taiwanese using other strategies to get out of a ticket. Once, I was pulled over for whatever reason. This was in Pingtung along a major road during the day.

An older woman had been stopped just before me. I had to wait for the two of them to finish their shouting match. I couldn’t get what they were saying as it was mostly in Minnan.

Something to the effect of …
lady : You must be blind!!! I didn’t go through the red light!!! It was YELLOW when I was going through!! And NO I didn’t bring my license. So what!?
Officer : I’m BLIND? And stupid? I am not the only officer here who saw you going through the intersection while it was already RED!!

WHatever else was said I don’t know. But the officer had lost his patience so much that he didn’t want to see or scream with the woman anymore. As she was leaving, she faced me and away from the policeman. She knew he couldn’t see her face. So I saw her victory smile very clearly and knew that she was pyscho-fighting him all along.


One more. A Taiwanese young guy said you can make an officer lose face or patience or confuse him in such a way that he will let you go. The example given me was this:

Young guy stopped for riding without a helmet (or whatever). Officer starts with the usual.

officer: Do you know it’s illegal for you to ride without a helmet? Your license and registration.

guy: Yes, sir.
(Guy drops to the ground and does push-ups)

officer: What are you doing?

guy: YES, SIR! 300 push-ups. SIR.

officer: No, I never said that. Stop it. Stop right now!
( Bystanders gather and take a look. Murmurs of ‘What a cruel officer! That poor guy!’ are heard)

I said stop doing that right now! Just stop it and go!

guy: Yes, sir.

(Guy gets on his scooter and rides away)

I’m not recommending this, but the lesson here is that the cop doesn’t want to lose face and guy exploits officers weakness. Don’t try this at home. It might not work as you hope. Who knows?

^^ Classic! :notworthy:

Moral of the story.
Taiwan cops are fucking worthless.

[quote=“SuchAFob”]Moral of the story.
Taiwan cops are fucking worthless.[/quote]

I couldn’t agree more. Unfortunately, they are poorly trained, and armed, which makes them worse than worthless.

I’ve had good dealings with the police here. On a number of occasions I’ve had my dinner paid for and beers bought for me by cops who are in the same restaurant as me. Nice guys. They even tell me after the beers that I should walk or catch a taxi because it’s not safe to ride a scooter (the restaurant in question is 2 mins walk from my apt and I don’t have a scooter). Although they always leave and get into cars and on scooters even though most of them are so drunk they can barely walk. Do as I say, not as I do, I guess.