Category Archives: Police

Flipping the Bird in Kuwait

More often than not, we’ll find ourselves on the receiving end of a one finger salute, a flipping of the bird, a middle finger…

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When driving back home, I make sure to let any offender know exactly what I think of them (especially on crowded streets) should they have the misfortune of transgressing upon me.

Here however, I keep my windows rolled up and my fingers inside the car, so as to avoid landing on the wrong side of the law should the insultee take offence and attempt to press charges.

Believe it or not, insulting someone whilst driving is a punishable offence. It happened to me today (I refuse to call it Karma) and I did what any warm blooded person would do, I noted the car licence plate number and decided to attempt to press charges.

Went to the closest police station (walking distance) and recounted my terrible ordeal to the police officer, who asked me to wait for the Station Officer, who was not there. So I waited a little while then left, and returned later, adamant to see justice run its course.

The shift had changed and a friendly officer was seated at reception. I recounted my ordeal to him. His first reaction was to find out exactly where it occurred, so as to slide me off to a different police station (jurisdiction) but when I insisted he had it wrong, he told me that I could press charges, then a case would be filed, and I would have to go back and recount what happened, and they’d call the transgressor in for questioning, at which point he could say that it was in fact I who had done that to him!

I asked what he would do if he were in my place, he said if he were not in his uniform, he’d just ignore it and move on.

So I took a page out of his playbook and decided to let this matter go.

A word of warning though the owner of the vehicle with the registration 10-79134

الحياة خيارة، يوم في يدك، ويوم،،،،

cumber682_1129835a

(Do not attempt translation with Google – instead, ask you nearest Arabic speaking friend to explain)

Traffic Fines on Speeding update in Kuwait

It has come to my attention in a previous post that traffic cameras around Kuwait are being “tampered with”, i.e. opened and examined frequently by authorized personnel from the MOI. It was happening too frequently to be malfunction repair. Just recently I came to the deduction of what was happening.

The threshold for speeding has been reduced and updated in all these cameras manually.

Case-in-point:

Traffic Fine

My latest transgression prior to renewing my car registration.

Location: 6th Ring Road

Speed: 136

Limit: 120

Fine: KD 20 for exceeding by no more than 20

Initially, I was under the impression that so long as you do not exceed 140, you are OK, and I have been doing this ages.

Now tho, it seems that the speed to not exceed is either 130 or 135.

You have been warned.

PS “اقوال المتهم” or “Statement of the felon” makes me feel like a murderer :S

Update on Driving Fines in Kuwait

According to Assistant Undersecretary for Traffic Affairs at Ministry of Interior Major General Abdullah Al-Muhanna, two things are going to happen:

  1. The seizure of vehicles will be stopped (temporarily mind you) due to the fact that there is no space to store seized vehicles. “confiscation of violating vehicles will be stopped temporarily because there are currently 38,528 vehicles in the seized-vehicle garages and they do not have space for any more impounded vehicles.”

 

  1. The hubub regarding the increase in fees for licences is not true. “Major General Al-Muhanna denied that the charges for traffic services provided to expatriates including renewal of driving licenses and vehicles registrations will be hiked to hundreds of dinars. He also denied any intention to prevent expatriates from possessing more than a vehicle.”

 

  1. If you are driving in the emergency lane above 45 KMH, you will get a fine, the camera WILL take a picture (don’t ask me how I know, just trust me).

Two proposals have been submitted to Ministry of Interior — one is to increase the fines of traffic violations by up to 50 percent and the other is to increase the fees by double for some traffic services. Which they are, is speculation. However so far it is only a proposal, so no need to reach for your passport and check expedia just yet.

Link to confirmation on the first two (here).

Killed over a Selfie by a Gulf National in Dubai…

From humble upbringing, to tragic end. That is the tale of Mahendran Yadav, the managing director of Emirates Homes Real Estate Brokers, who was tragically struck down (some say unintentionally) by a Gulf National in Dubai after a row erupted between them whereby the former was taking pictures with friends that the latter believed to be inclusive of him and his fiancee. Taking matters into his own hands after complaining to the hotel restaurant staff where they were and seeing no cessation of selfies, he confronted the group and the events which ensued resulted in the death of one of them.

Over a selfie.

Imagine.

What is worse are the comments left by some people on the article (here) and I quote:

“Right to take photograph at a public place is relative and not an absolute one. The hotel restaurant is not exclusive domain of anyone where one could take photographs in spite of objections of others using the restaurant. The victim should have been civilized enough to understand this especially that he was a real estate broker, he should have shown shown some manners. This does not mean the attacker had the right to kill him; but the victim brought it upon himself by refusing to accept request to stop taking photographs.”

“Though the loss of a life is very unfortunate, it’s extremely provoking to take a pic of someone, especially a lady, without consent & more so to refuse when asked to stop. Hotel managements need to inform their guests.”

“The assaulter however if he had a problem he could’ve changed tables or asked his fianc�e to give her back to the camera instead of showing off his muscles on Yadav. I once in Dubai was with a friend in the Atlantis hotel, we ordered dinner, which was so well presented so I took a photo of my plate, the flash was on. Another gulf national next to me started acting funny and he clearly didn’t like it that my camera flash went off and he had a young wife or daughter I guess. Being from the Gulf myself I apologized to him, ,showed him that my photo didn’t have him and that I’m already loyal to mine own not to ogle his wife. 5 years on, I feel bitter that he had this sense of entitlement to express his opinion on my actions.”

When did it become OK to descend to barbarianism over a photograph? When it is crystal clear that the picture taken does not derive its focus entirely on you, it should be no hassle to either get up and move to another table or simply remain silent.

I have yet to add this to the list of complaints I receive in public, from anyone, but rest assured should it ever arise my response would not be to refrain from taking pictures, but to request the requester to get off their high horse and slap them with the realization that they in fact did not marry Helen of Troy.

I am sure a search on Google would paint a more harrowing picture as to how many lives were lost unnecessarily as a result of macho bravado over a picture.

The victim had arrived in Dubai and was employed as a driver before he worked his way up the ladder and made his fortune as a real estate broker, heading up the Emirates Homes Real Estate Brokers firm since 2003.

And now his obituary will read, “killed over a selfie by a Gulf National in Dubai“.

Setting Precedent – Expat Junkie evades Deportation in Kuwait

The law is fickle; to the educated mind, it is a minefield of mostly grey landscape, with few things ever being clearly black or white.

Take for example the following scenario:

A person, upon seeing a patrol car, attempts to hide from it, arousing the suspicion of the officers inside. They stop the person and find he has no ID, so they arrest him. Person drops clear plastic bag before getting into police car, which the officers note and upon inspection find that it is drugs. The person, now a suspect, confessed he was planning to consume the drugs.

Clear cut case right? Wrong.

According to the suspects lawyer, the arrest is to be nullified as the person was not a suspect to begin with, therefore making the whole process that followed null & void – i.e. illegal.

In an Arabic nutshell – ما بني على باطل فهو باطل, meaning whatever is built on a wrong foundation is incorrect.

Now, there are several ways we can take this news:

1) Feel terrible that a drug abuser is loose on the streets once more, and that since no conclusion can be established regarding whether or not he was actually going to consume the drugs or sell them, he could potentially be a drug dealer.

2) Feel happy that this sets precedent to police that they cannot randomly stop you and check you without a warrant.

Going back to the second point, now I am no lawyer so please do not take my words literally, however it would seem that in order for a “checkpoint” to be placed, certain procedures have to be followed and approvals sought. Police do not have the right to inspect you IF YOU ARE NOT DOING ANYTHING WRONG – for example, I reported a story called the Mishref Marauder a few years ago; whilst waiting in the parking lot where a known felon was breaking into vehicles, I was beckoned forward by an unmarked car, which happened to be housing two undercover cops. When I refused to approach, they approached me, and checked my ID, he then asked to search my vehicle, which I did not refuse as I had nothing to hide. In retrospect however, I had the right to refuse them to search my car as they did not produce a warrant to do such. It should be mentioned that my reaction and the reaction of the Kuwaiti’s in the running group later when they arrived and were similarly asked questions by the police were COMPLETELY different.

(link)

It is unfortunate that we learn a valuable law lesson through this occurrence; I would probably assume his lawyer also filed that his “confession’ was obtained under duress and hence is also null and void.

justice is blind, kuwait, law, expat, deport, drugs, tramadol, police

Kuwait’s New Traffic Laws – What you need to Know

The roads of Kuwait are in disarray, the General Traffic Department (GTD) is currently in its “Traffic week” with nice antics such as passing flowers to motorists (link).

As sweet as that may sound, there is also the issue of the following announcement, on an advertising account on Instagram, no doubt purported after a wave of posts pertaining the subject were made:

Kuwait, Ministry of Interior, MOI, General Traffic Department, GTD

MOI: Impounding any vehicles bearing writings or unofficial stickers or advertising or pictures or slogans, and the violating motorist.

As there was no official channel used to inform motorists of this new rule, one would be smart in dismissing it as hearsay.

One would be wrong, as I am living proof that this new traffic law is in in fact in effect, and motorists left right and center are getting their vehicles impounded because of it.

Just so you are aware, any sticker, of any kind, be it a picture of Baba Jaber, an Islamic verse etc. is a violation. It is up to the officer who see’s you whether or not they ticket you for it.

FACT: they even consider the Prado and Pajero names on the doors to be stickers, and have impounded vehicles for them. Trust me, I saw it first hand.

Here are a few anecdotal responses found on instragram as a result of this new traffic law:

Kuwait, Ministry of Interior, Traffic, MOI, violation, stickers, ملصقات, ضبط, arrest, impounding, General Traffic Department, GTD

“they might as well just write my name lol”

Kuwait, Ministry of Interior, Traffic, MOI, violation, stickers, ملصقات, ضبط, arrest, impounding, General Traffic Department, GTD

“I have a picture of Baba Jaber, I won’t remove it lol, let him write tickets till his book is finished”

Kuwait, Ministry of Interior, Traffic, MOI, violation, stickers, ملصقات, ضبط, arrest, impounding, General Traffic Department, GTD

I say let us return to the days of riding camels and go everywhere on it, this is ridiculous, everything is forbidden”

Kuwait, Ministry of Interior, Traffic, MOI, violation, stickers, ملصقات, ضبط, arrest, impounding, General Traffic Department, GTD

“they stop you even for the Apple Logo”

 

Kuwait, Ministry of Interior, Traffic, MOI, violation, stickers, ملصقات, ضبط, arrest, impounding, General Traffic Department, GTD

“I challenge any SOB to impound my “Motor”, let them eat ****”

Kuwait, Ministry of Interior, Traffic, MOI, violation, stickers, ملصقات, ضبط, arrest, impounding, General Traffic Department, GTD

“I have a picture of Baba Jaber <3”

Kuwait, Ministry of Interior, Traffic, MOI, violation, stickers, ملصقات, ضبط, arrest, impounding, General Traffic Department, GTD

“your salaries are paid from our pockets lol”

Kuwait, Ministry of Interior, Traffic, MOI, violation, stickers, ملصقات, ضبط, arrest, impounding, General Traffic Department, GTD

“I’m going out to write on my car, I want it to get impounded”

Kuwait, Ministry of Interior, Traffic, MOI, violation, stickers, ملصقات, ضبط, arrest, impounding, General Traffic Department, GTD

“soon they will impound our underwear”

Kuwait, Ministry of Interior, Traffic, MOI, violation, stickers, ملصقات, ضبط, arrest, impounding, General Traffic Department, GTD

“better remove the service sticker (found on the inside of the windshield)”

Kuwait, Ministry of Interior, Traffic, MOI, violation, stickers, ملصقات, ضبط, arrest, impounding, General Traffic Department, GTD

“if you blow your horn they’ll impound your car”

Capture 11

*Expletives*

Kuwait, Ministry of Interior, Traffic, MOI, violation, stickers, ملصقات, ضبط, arrest, impounding, General Traffic Department, GTD

“soon they’ll issue a law for underwear without a licence”

Kuwait, Ministry of Interior, Traffic, MOI, violation, stickers, ملصقات, ضبط, arrest, impounding, General Traffic Department, GTD

“they’re getting the money to pay for the flowers they passed out”

Kuwait, Ministry of Interior, Traffic, MOI, violation, stickers, ملصقات, ضبط, arrest, impounding, General Traffic Department, GTD

“apparently they were passing out flowers to their friends only – God is above and anyone given an unjust ticket may God be in their favor” (I like this one!)

Kuwait, Ministry of Interior, Traffic, MOI, violation, stickers, ملصقات, ضبط, arrest, impounding, General Traffic Department, GTD

“you go to the bathroom to pee and someone pops up out of nowhere and arrests you”

Kuwait, Ministry of Interior, Traffic, MOI, violation, stickers, ملصقات, ضبط, arrest, impounding, General Traffic Department, GTD

“do you want us to ride around on bicycles to not get ticketed? this isn’t right”

Kuwait, Ministry of Interior, Traffic, MOI, violation, stickers, ملصقات, ضبط, arrest, impounding, General Traffic Department, GTD

“Bicycle with a ghost sticker on it is violating? lol”

Kuwait, Ministry of Interior, Traffic, MOI, violation, stickers, ملصقات, ضبط, arrest, impounding, General Traffic Department, GTD

“personally I am going to buy a bicycle with 4 tires”

Kuwait, Ministry of Interior, Traffic, MOI, violation, stickers, ملصقات, ضبط, arrest, impounding, General Traffic Department, GTD

*Apparently this one is dying for a licence so he’ll go as far as removing everything from the car once he gets a licence”

Capture 21

“no shading, no stickers, you cannot do anything to your car, one second who bought the car? who paid for it? us or you?!! seriously, the car or anything I buy with my money I have the right to do whatever I want to it so long as I do not offend anyone. Think, learn from abroad”

Kuwait, Ministry of Interior, Traffic, MOI, violation, stickers, ملصقات, ضبط, arrest, impounding, General Traffic Department, GTD

“question, when they issue these rules how do we know of them if there is no instagram 🙂 every day a new law, and we’re like if your violating or not violating yalla sign you dog 🙂 go home and don’t it again”

REJOICE! The Streets of Kuwait are Finally Safe!

Finally, the people of Kuwait can sleep soundly knowing that their streets are safe once more.

Yes, although hard to believe, the menace is gone, and we can all breathe a sigh of relief.

All our problems have been solved! The sky is brighter! The birds fuller! The sun shinier!

5 years it took, but finally, today, justice shall be served.

….

The stickers on my car shall be removed.

Gone shall be the Autobot logo on the back, as will the Lion’s head logo on the right side.

Yes, the streets shall be safe! REJOICE MEN AND WOMEN! DANCE IN THE STREETS! LADIES, RELEASE YOUR DAUGHTERS!

You are all safe now.

For 5 years since I purchased my vehicle I have adorned it with stickers, not pertaining to anything religious or political, but just for the mere idea of making my car different to any other Red Sportage out there.

For 5 years I drove past police cars, was waved through police checkpoints, and renewed my registration 3 times. It is on this day, that officer # ***** in squad car **** decided, at the roundabout near BBS, that my reign of terror must come to an end.

The process though could use a little tweaking; I was pulled over at the roundabout, my licence and registration were confiscated, I was asked to drive ALL THE WAY TO SALMIYA even though Hawally police station was JUST DOWN THE ROAD, by like 200 or 300 meters.

Where incidentally, there happens to be a U-turn that is repeatedly violated ON A DAILY/HOURLY BASIS, right. infront. of. the. police. station.

When I asked what my transgression was, I was told I would be informed at the police station.

This was at 7AM.

By 8:30PM the officer in question makes his triumphant return, with many bedazzled drivers awaiting their fate, their transgressions ranging from parking on the 4th Ring Road to having stickers on their cars.

FYI apparently the name of your car on your side door is considered a sticker and is to be removed as well.

The fine is 5KD. However, you are to relinquish the keys to your vehicle, proceed to Jabriya Police Station on SUNDAY, pay the fine, then proceed to the impound lot in SHUWAIKH, submit a few documents, pay demurrage on your car for taking up valuable space at the impound lot, be told that you missed a document, return to Jabriya to retrieve said document, then go collect your car.

Très amusant.

The Problem of Public Transport in Kuwait

Let’s face it; public transport in Kuwait is a nightmare.

traffic in kuwait

Despite its growing population, Kuwait is thoroughly lacking when it comes to methods of public transportation; the public only have two options – expensive private taxis or one-of-three bus companies.

More often than not, these buses are terribly maintained, spewing black smoke and noxious fumes at other motorists on their daily commute to and from work.

The fumes bother not the driver nor his passengers, they do however cause severe discomfort to others in the street, say a father driving his young daughters home from school during midday. If you are unfortunate enough to be caught behind these giant monstrosities during traffic, you have very little chance of escaping from behind them. In the absence of an army-regulation gas mask, your chances of comfort are slim to non.

gas mask driving

“So honey how was your day at school?”; “gmgneskneksnfkskjdsef….”; “that’s great sweety”

It is not that law enforcement is not doing all it can to combat the situation, on the contrary, Officers from Traffic Sector issued 940 citations for various traffic offenses and impounded 147 buses to garages of the department. (link)

However, more often than not, and as is the case in Kuwait from personal experience, the fine imposed by the police as a result of the transgression is a mere fraction of the cost to fix the transgression. In other words, bus companies favor paying fines as it is cheaper than fixing their buses.

Now I am not sure of the case of buses, when it comes to private vehicles, all cars impounded by the police for safety purposes (i.e. spewing black fumes) are ordered to redo the registration renewal inspection, and will be failed by the officer should the error not be corrected.

Something needs to be done by the MOI to combat get these buses to conform to health and safety standards once and for all.

If Citybus can offer free wifi on its routes, then all bus companies can afford to fix their buses.

Police checkpoints in Kuwait – a guide to Suiting Up!

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Its 4PM and you have finally left the office and started heading home, you notice that the traffic on your favorite street is slightly more congested than usual, you drive up and find the familiar red-&-blue police car lights flashing in unison at the bend, just out of eye reach.

You fumble and grumble and remember that you might have possibly forgotten to take your wallet with you on the way home.

And then you start to panic.

This is what usually happens when people are crossing a police checkpoint, however, sometimes you get off the hook very easily, and no it is not that women are not stopped, BS.

Here are a few tricks to staying on the right side of Misha’al Qanoun (Johnny Law’s Kuwaiti cousin):

1) DO NOT PANIC! This is easier said than done, yesterday I changed direction 4 times when leaving my house because I left my wallet at home and there was a checkpoint, even though last week I had sailed through one on the way home from work with ease because I knew I had my papers on me. Ever notice how anyone caught doing something illegal (i.e. at the airport, bringing in contraband) is described as looking “confused”? Confusion is panic.

2) Most cars pulled over at the checkpoints are either:

a) Old and likely to be viewed as a pollution menace.

b) New but driven by shady looking drivers (alas, judging books by their covers is routinely done, it is no secret).

3) For old cars, there is really not much you can do, try being well dressed? Sometimes a guy in a suit can get away with things.

4) For new cars with shady looking drivers, again, try wearing a suit. It works wonders.

So yes, what we are basically trying to say in a nutshell is:

suit-up-wallpaper

Suit up Kuwait!

And try to look innocent, yeah?

The Real Reason behind Kuwait’s #Traffic Problem

“You cannot stop progress”.

With those simple words we are able to look at Kuwait’s ever growing traffic problem with renewed vision, gaining a better understanding of the elements responsible for making the early morning work commute comparable to running a marathon through a sea of konafa; inexplicably difficult and definitely time consuming.

Kuwait is having a serious traffic problem every morning, afternoon, and evening when students, parents and employees are all in their cars heading to their converging destinations. However, the cause of this deadlock is not the oversupply of drivers licences or the presence of motor vehicles on the streets. That is a sign of progress. Kuwait is expanding, metamorphosing into the next stage of industrial utopia, attracting more foreign investment which entails higher populations of both locals and expats. The car companies have to sell, the salesmen must meet their monthly targets. Blaming the traffic solely on expats and licences distracts from the true cause of the traffic.

There are several factors, such as the following:

image

Traffic cops are deployed at certain times to high traffic areas such as major roundabouts, exits and school areas in order to ensure smooth flow of traffic. However, no such assistance is evident, with police-men simply waving cars to pass.

It is extremely imperative to regulate traffic at roundabouts as they end up causing a backlog due to the overabundance of choice from every angle. Three lanes of vehicles spew out from every angle, each wanting to go in a different direction, 3X3X3X3 = 71 possibilities at every roundabout. And with no conductor to handle the flow, chaos ensues, with cars honking and cutting in front of others as others refuse to allow anyone to pass in front of them.

The experiment undertaken at the roundabouts on route 80 proved to be useful; major roundabouts are outfitted with traffic signals to help regulate the flow to an extent. Yes, traffic is still a congested, however it flows smoothly with little interference required.

Surprisingly, both major traffic reasons can be given examples in Hawally, where the sudden emergence of several schools at every major entry/exit point from the area causes a traffic jam that leads to spending 30 minutes to traverse a distance of only 2 or 3KM every day. The first reason as mentioned above is the traffic police-men’s lack of hands on traffic handling. The second reason is as follows:

Traffic lights. The intersection at Beirut & Tunis St. for example followed by the intersection of Beirut & Qotaiba St. (parallel to route 40 motorway).

The sequence with which the traffic lights open and close causes a huge delay in traffic as the majority are heading in One Direction, out of Hawally. Anyone caught on the front line of a traffic light can quickly discern how movement should be.

In the absence of order, chaos ensues. People have proven countless times that without a regulating authority, all forms of misdemeanors will transpire. If the law is not constantly surveying and correcting peoples behavior, rules will be discarded and the melee of early morning deadlock will be further exacerbated until we reach the epic traffic jam levels of China:

China Traffic

August 2011 ( View complete archive page )

September 2011 ( View complete archive page )

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