Police and rights


I’m sitting in the internet cafe (it’s not after curfew time) and the police just bowl in and ask to see my (and others ID cards). of course I guess that this is allowed in Taiwan, but back home you wouldn’t have to show ID just because a policeman asked you.

What are the police allowed to do in Taiwan? What questions do you have to answer? Are they allowed to search you or your house?

I don’t have anything to hide. I’m working legally. I just don’t like police invading my privacy and I think if they have too much power they are more open to abuse of power.



“back home you wouldn’t have to show ID just because a policeman asked you.”

Woo hoo, here’s a can of worms! I posit that “back home” you have to do EXACTLY what the boys in blue tell you to. Of course, you could then sue them for any infringements, but I expect you have some kind of recourse here, as well.
Just think yourself lucky youre not in New York or you could have found yourself with – lets see – was it 41 bullet holes or just 41 shots fired, for reaching for your wallet. OF course, you might not have been shot. Maybe you’d just have been raped with a toilet plunger handle instead.
Cops do what they want, man. Grow up.


Back “home”, it’s my understanding that cops generally have to have a legitimate reason for asking to see your ID, although here I have encountered the same situation as you have in Taiwanese internet cafes. They just charge in and start asking for cards. Sometimes I think these guys think they’re still in the martial law era…

I once had a conversation with my boss about cops, and he mentioned that they have the right to stop and search your motorcycle. When I asked him if they can pat people down in a search, he said he didn’t think so unless you’re actually caught engaging in criminal pastimes.

What really gets me is their bizarre and often sporadic enforcement of laws. 350 days a year – don’t ticket anybody parking illegally. Around Chinese New Year - go driving around with cameras to take pictures of people’s motorcycles. One cop yesterday had a camera out and was walking out as I pulled up to the stop light. I watched as he took a picture of the girl in front of me. The only thing out of place on her scooter was her mirrors – somewhat askew. If that’s what he was taking a picture of (or maybe she had a beautiful back), I guess that’s really just being an a-hole. Can’t be bothered to catch the crazy crackheads who pose as taxi drivers, or people who blow red lights or drive in packs making noise, but they’re protectings us all from the pure psychos who turn their mirrors inward!

I’d really like to get a clearer picture of Taiwanese cops’ rights and responsibilities in dealing with Zhang Q. Public…it would be handy to know!


What’s up with all these people who feel they have to insult other people to make a point?

“Cops do what they want, man. Grow up.”

“Grow up” - What’s that all about? All it’s going to do is inflame the original poster and make him want to defend himself, then we will have about a month of, “Well, you’re stupid”, “nuh uh, you are stupid”, “oh yeah!”, “yeah!” like we see in so many other threads in this forum.

Let’s just express our views without the insults, pleasssssssseeeeeeeeeeee.

crazy laowai


I guess from other postings that Bu Lai En is a kiwi - like me.

Once upon a time - in NZ - if you went on holiday you would tell the police so they could keep an eye on you place - for safety. When I move to Australia it became apparent that the only reason you would tell the police you were going on holiday was if you wanted to convert your possessions into an insurance claim. So Bu Lai En may not be accustomed to police who trample all over peoples rights, like Aus - US - and perhaps Taiwan.


Rian, you’re right. When I said ‘back home’ meant New Zealand, and I remeber some international report a few years ago that rated our cops the least corrupt in the world. They’re still not nice guys all the time or anything, but if you know your rights you can bascially stand up for them and the police can’t touch you.

Some touchy guy might have got the impression that I thought Taiwan cops should be the same. I don’t, but I am generally curious about what they are allwoed to do. I was thinking even more about it afterwards and this checking of IDs in the internet cafe seems really pointless. What were they doing?

There’s only two or three things I can think of. They can’t have been searching for someone, because then they would have only gone for people fitting a certain description so maybe
a) They were doing some kind of general check where they typed everyone’s ID number into the computer in the vague hope that they would find someone who was ‘on the run’ or whatever.
They were checking for visa overstayers, as an internet cafe has quite a few foreigners
c) It’s a kind of hangover from Martial Law mentality and random ID checking sort of enforces the idea of police control of the state.

Oh yeah, is it a legal obligation to carry your ID/ARC/Passport around with you evrywhere? When I was on a visitor visa I never carried my passport around with me (it’s too valuable to risk loosing). What if I’d told the cop that I didn’t have ID on me?

I’m really curious, so if anyone knows…



Hey Cranky, I’m a troller, therefore I troll. I find it amusing. If ya don’t like it, don’t read it. Love ya, baby.
In answer to Bu En Lai, yes you are now legally obliged to carry your passport or ARC at all times or risk a fine. I never do, as I lost an ARC a few years ago and had the devil’s own time trying to replace it. I’ve been asked to produce it since the new laws went into force, showed them a photocopy, which didn’t go down well, then demanded the cops name and number when he tried to give me an on-the-spot fine. He blustered for a bid, then waved me off with a curse.


“Who are you kidding?”
“Is this a children’s site?”
“If someone writes what I think is total bullshit, am I required to turn the other cheek or to use soothing, “clean, G-rated” language?”

Uh, what are you talking about? Who complained about foul language? I just want to keep the forum from turning into something like:

“you’re stupid, grow up”
“no, youre stupid”
“nuh uh, you are”
“well you’re stupider”
“oh yeah, well you are stupidest”

I just hate wading through nonsense to get to the issues… That’s all… Just my opinion, that’s all… Use any language you want, I don’t f###ing care…

crazy laowai


I am told that one of the may leftover laws from Martial Law is the midnight curfew. As I understand, no one under 18 is allowed outside after midnight and thus the police can ‘arrest’ them. Perhaps Richard’s encyclopedic knowledge can confirm this?! If so, then in theory, police would have a legal mandate to check out Internet cafes late at night. You may notice that many teahouses ask for ID late at night even though they don’t serve alcohol, this is for the same reason.


This happened at about 6:00PM so it wasn;t curfew. I’ve noticed the curfew check at internet cafes too. The strange thing is if I go to the netcafe late I have to show them my ID anyway, even though I bet the law doesn’t aply to foreigners (and I don’t look 18). This really pissed me off at the first time, because I didn’t have an ARC and never used to carry my passport with me.



At midnight I saw two cops in uniform pull guns on a few Taiwanese kids on mopeds at the Hong Shu Lin gas station near Tamsui because the cops were trying to intimidate. It worked. I’d have to agree with the opinion that cops here do pretty much what they like.


Some of those “kids” carry knives and sticks. I wouldn’t be surprised if a cop pulls his gun on them. I’m actually more surprised that the cops actually did something about the situation.

Down here in Kaohsiung, scooter punks like to ride in packs (maybe 5 to 20 scooters) and shoot through the red light together, beeping their horns. How often does this happen in other cities?