10.31.2005

It's indescribable, but several times the police have tried to stop me on my bike. For going the wrong way down a one-way street, to check the bike, for just being on the road and foreign, and for who knows whatever reason. Basically they want graft, money, like 10 or 20 dollars. They have no vehicle, their method of pulling someone over is to walk into the road with one arm raised, motioning you to stop. Every time I just swerve around them and speed up. They have never followed me. This is in accord with all the advice I've heard from other foreigners. Don't stop, keep going, fuck them. It's unbelievable for any American to hear, (America is very much a society that respects police) but in Cambodia they don't respect police one bit.

I've already gotten into a minor accident, but I just got back on my bike and rode away, leaving the other guy there with a scrape on his hand, wanting some money. The accident was his fault, he was going on the wrong side of a two-way street. But I would've had to pay if I stuck around and waited for the large crowd of Khmers to gather and discuss the accident and who should pay. The foreigner always pays--they think we have boatloads of money and don't have anything to do with it.

Fleeing from police, leaving the scene of an accident. They aren't crimes here--they are the wise thing to do.

2 Comments:

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