Friday, August 12, 2011

Got conned by fake police in Kuala Lumpur

Internet literature had warned us that taxis in Kuala Lumpur are popular for ripping us off, so we were careful on that aspect and used public transport as much as possible. Just sharing a not so good experience encountered in Malaysia (Truly Aisa!). We believe we’ve been conned to the tune of 260 RM (INR 4000 approx) by couple of people posing as police.

This is what happened:
On the night of 7th August, about 9PM, we were taking a walk near our hotel (Hotel Grand Season, near Chow Kit). We were stopped by 3 people in a black car (didn’t have any coloured lamps on top of it or any marks to indicate it is a law enforcement vehicle), all 3 wearing black jacket. Person sitting in rear seat identified himself as POLIS and showed us an id card kind of thing which read POLIS and had some more text. This person asked us some basic questions like where are you from, how many days you’re here etc and then directed us to another person sitting in front seat.

This person in front seat, also wearing black jacket, asked further questions- if we’re carrying any drugs, what we have with us in our pocket and bags etc. he asked us to show what is there in our pockets, when I showed the wallet, he took it and inspected the contents, asked if the notes were fake, where I got local currency etc and eventually returned the wallet, asked us to be careful and we moved on.

Subsequently, I realized that about 260 ringgits (about INR 4000) missing from the wallet. I checked all other bags, tallied the currency we had while arriving and money we spent since morning and cash still left.  This calculation and verification confirmed the shortage of 260 ringgits. I visualized the activities since our arrival in Malaysia to check if we’ve spent on something which’s not considered or possibility of missing/losing this money elsewhere- we couldn’t identify any reason/occasion why we’re short of 260 ringgit.

With this we believe we were conned by couple of localities with a black car, posing as police, who managed to slip off couple of currency notes off my wallet in the dark while acting as inspecting the same. We don’t have any documentary evidence to prove this- possible that I might have missed the notes elsewhere, but such possibilities being unlikely, I believe it is the fake polis.

Sharing this info so that you can be careful in future.

What can be done in future to avoid such incidents?
·         Avoid walking around late night if possible, particularly do not walk alone in unfamiliar areas
·         Avoid carrying more than necessary cash
·         If possible study and understand how official police ID cards, badges and vehicles look like in the country you’re heading to (This is no 100% fool proof. Drug trafficking is major issue in Malaysia and is punishable by death. Narcotics police often patrol in plainclothes, without lights, siren and other signs of regular police)
·         Be alert to people around you and their actions
·         Demand that you be inspected only in hotel lobby and not on the roadside/in the darkness

Also be informed about the below incident- I read about it in an email forward and don’t know how authentic it is.

In several airports/countries including Bangkok and others, Duty free shop guys could be hand in glove with local police. Duty free shop attendant would put one or two unbilled items into your bag, with or without your notice/consent. You might think it is free/complementary item, but within minutes, you’ll be captured by the police for shoplifting. Since there’s no bill/receipt for those extra items, theft charges can be easily proved, No one believes that you’re innocent and in a foreign country, you won’t get any support to prove your innocence. Once put behind bars, such people will be released after they pay huge bribe.

To overcome the above, avoid buying abroad if possible. Else be cautious as to what you’re buying and what are all the items being added to your bag. If anything is given free, insist on a receipt


Deguide said...

It is a good lesson for us, never shop abroad and never venture out after sunset, that is as simple as that for any tourist. Thanks for alert

Mridula said...

What a sad thing to happen to you.

Trails of a Traveler said...

This is pathetic. Malasiya is known for such frauds. People need to be very careful and as you said, should not carry cash more than what is necessary.


Anu said...

this is so sad.... but good information.. we must learn to be careful and avoid such things!

Indrani said...

Scary and weird.
Thank God it was just money!

Vijay Menon said...

Good that you posted something like this. Certainly a lesson for many.

...Here I Am!

Anu Menon said...

Yea scary but thank gudness they didn't harm anyone...

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Umesh Sir-well, what is the fun if we fear so much and hide in hotel room- need to explore a bit is my opinion

Mridula: Well, it happens

Ram: Yes

Anu: yes

Indrani: Yes

Vijay: Thanks

Anu: Yes

Thanks all for commenting

danontheroad said...

Sorry to hear about your deal and sad to say these type of con jobs are quite common in KL.

Chow Kit is one of the dodgy parts of town & even us locals would avoid going there at night.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Thanks Dan. Yes, we learnt a lesson