May I see your badge please? Dealing with Fakops

There is an issue I’ve been thinking of as a result of the string of news articles that have apparently become a growing trend in Kuwait.

I am talking about the fake-cops, the Fakops (you pronounced F**kUps) if you will, and the rising of this disturbing phenomena.

Too often you read in the newspaper about how some hapless expat was “pulled over” by person(s) claiming to be police officers, (whether or not they are dressed in uniform/ civilian clothes) apprehended, taken to a remote location, beaten (if they are lucky), robbed and left for dead.

At times it is even worse, where they are abducted, raped (gender plays no preference), and discarded.

All the while, the perpetrators are in the guise of Police.

Now, I know it is not easy to score a police uniform (I think some are made in the area behind the Chamber of Commerce), and a while ago, there was  a viral video of a prostitute parading around in a policemans uniform. By examining the footage, the police were able to determine who the leud person was and they were tried accordingly.

But what is our defense, as expats, against these Fakops? Do you dare to ask a cop to show you their ID, whether they are in a cruiser, in uniform, in civilian clothes or an unmarked vehicle?

Apparently, the Kuwaiti Citizenship comes with an added bonus of being civilian police, capable of citizens arrest.

To prove my point, a couple of years ago I was doing some work with the Ministry of Finance, requiring me to go to the Ministries Complex, normally I would walk that distance from Muthana Mall (close to where I worked) to the Complex, but this time, I chose to take my car. Big Mistake.

The parking lot for the Ministries Complex is an absolute disgrace. With cars parked in driveways, near exits, on top of the pavement, wherever you can throw a stone, you can park a car.

So as I was cruising near an exit, I saw a car pulling out, now keep in mind I’m at the exit, and I know its wrong but, show me one person in that parking lot that is actually following the rules. So I pulled in, unfortunately for me, another guy coming in the right was also spotted the spot, and wanted in. Through careful and expert maneuvering, I was able to park there.

However, much to my dismay, the other car was waiting behind me. At most, I expected a telling off, so as I was gathering my papers and leaving my car, the man in the other car, with the worst sneer on his face, waves me over and, get this, asks for my license and registration, all the while maintaining his position inside his car.

The car was a loaner, so I handed over its registration but did not give him my licence, using the excuse I was in a hurry so I left my wallet in the office.

Bullet points of this man’s actions:
1) I will have your licence revoked
2) You and your kind are the reason for all this traffic mess
3) You cannot drive
4) I will have you retake the driving exam

Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera, and so on and so forth.

After wasting my time, he just handed back my registration and drove off.

So, the question remains, what does the expat do when faced with such a situation? Forget the story I just mentioned, I was at fault (albeit the response being severely over-the-top), but what if I’m just walking along the street, minding my own business, when an unmarked car pulls up next to me, and a cop (uniformed or plain-clothed), tells me I need to be searched or that I fit the description for something.

I am wondering, if I pull out my phone and dial 112, and ask them to check his number for me on their system, would they take offence?

I do not want to be robbed, I do not want to beaten, and I definitely do not want to get raped, whats my protection as a resident?

August 2011 ( View complete archive page )

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