I don't want to spend a night in the lockup!

Seems every Sunday I watch the news and there’s another foreigner in the cop shop.

Today’s had one, and his Chinese was pretty good too, trying to reason with the police. He apparently got into a fight with some Taiwanese, half pissed I’m guessing as it WAS Sat night, and the Taiwanese bolted when the cops came. What’s new? Anyway the laowai stayed to sort the mess out.

Next thing the footage shows is the laowai being HANDCUFFED. He kept asking them “weishema wo zhe yang”, and the cops just kept ignoring him and just continued filming him with their video camera. He was obviously becoming increasingly annoyed and frusted.

Anyway, I don’t get in town much, so the only trouble I usually get into is for either being online too long or hogging the remote control . If a foreigner was to get into a situation like this, and it being Sat night, or another inconvenient time, who should he call in order to prevent a night in the lockup, and an argument when he got home.

Personally the foreigner should have probably ran away too. Though Richard I am sure they may be some other legal percussions to doing this? I’ve noticed in Taiwan when ever there is some kind of activity that involves a foreigner it’s like we’re in a zoo. Everyone just stares and they do nothing to help. This is completely normal, however. In order to stay out of jail one must run for his life! Or maybe speaking in gibberish to the police may also work. It may scare them!


It does seem that the Taiwan procedure when a cop comes is to run like Forest Gump in his footballing days, which pretty much goes against all the rules we learn back home. Especially if you are no fellon.

If I was 3 parts pissed, the chances of me walking straight, let alone successfully playing a game of hide and seek with the boys in blue, would be a bad idea.

Again, I’m a lover not a fighter, but there’s plenty of meat heads around that should know what avenues of justice there are here. Judging by they way we are continually portrayed on the Taiwan News Channels, it just doesn’t look like there are many, or any.

quote[quote]If a foreigner was to get into a situation like this, and it being Sat night, or another inconvenient time, who should he call in order to prevent a night in the lockup[/quote]

Interesting question. Locals seem to call their representative or just someone with a big name or some mighty power behind them. Unfortunately, foreigners may not take part in elections and are therefor not a valuable voter. And if you helped that representative during an election campaign, you interfered in local politics - bye.
US and german citizens in their respective home countries usually know a lawyer they would contact if in any trouble. Which leads me to the question: Is anyone following such custom here too? And does a lawyer really help?
Probably the only thing the average foreigner can do is stay calm and try to talk to someone in charge. Make clear that they should have something substantial against you because it might not look very good in the media when the police is portrayed breaking the law. They should think of investors scared away by a police pursuing innocent foreigners - and politicians don’t like investors to be scared away…
Well, part of the above paragraph sounds like nonsense and is nonsense indeed, but it is the one you can find in the papers here almost every day, so these arguments might be of some use…

The other logical option - whether it does any good or not, is a different discussion - is to call your de facto embassy representative.
I have a series of telephone numbers for my contact including his office, private and mobile numbers should i need to call in an emergency.

Some may prove to be more useful than others.

Reminds me of a story I heard over 25 years ago when a Bolivian national had been arrested and held in detention in a prison in Taipei. He was hoping for an early release, and his local friends had lodged strong protests with the Director General of the National Police Administration. He asked his lawyer: “Is there any word on the NPA Director General’s pardon?”

The lawyer replied: “According to news reports, he is supposed to get out of jail next week.”

I think that there is a moral to this story but I forgot what it was.

Another piece of advice: play dumb with the police. You don’t speak a word of Chinese. None. Except maybe a ni hao said repeatedly with a smile on your face. Also, start handing them all the documents in your wallet, acting confused. A friend used this tactic once and got away with a frustrated shake of the head on the part of the police officer. Word is, they love arresting foreign-looking people of all nationalities; anyone else know of any techniques for police evasion (aside from the old staple: running like hell)?