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Bribing & Greasing Hands in the third world
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TwinTurbo Offline
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Post: #1
Bribing & Greasing Hands in the third world
If you've traveled around much, I'm sure you've already encountered situations where someone in a position of power is asking you for money for just doing their job - or worse, just because they got you by the balls and they can take this opportunity to extort you.

I'm posting this because I want to hear about you guys experiences - and maybe if you have any good advice on how to get out of these situations as quickly/cheaply as possible.

I also know some of you guys always proactively bribe people that may be of use even before needing anything for them - for example the security guy at your hotel, that you know is going to see you bring up a different slut every day. I haven't done this yet, but I think I should honestly. Would like to hear your experiences with this.

Ok I'll go first, here's a few examples of situations I've had to get out of by paying bribes - and some advice on how to handle them. Notice that its important to always isolate the person you are bribing, the more people know about the bribe (their colleagues, etc), the more expensive it will be.

- Vietnam, driving my scooter with 3 other friends from Saigon to Mui Ne beach - we get stopped at a fixed road checkpoint in the middle of fucking nowhere in the mekong river delta - we show them our driving licenses. Now the guys start yelling in vietnamese at us. It was impossible to understand what the problem was, but eventually we figured out that they said we need an "international drivers license" - and right away some of the guys grab our scooters and start loading them onto their truck. As this is happening, a full vietnamese family of husband, wife and 2 children all piled up on top of 1 tiny scooter races by and they dont get stopped.
I tell the main cop please, join me here behind the bush so we can talk about this- he follows me, I give him around $20 in viet cash - he gestures that its not enough, I gesture that we have nothing else (not true), he yells back at his colleagues and our scooters start to get back unloaded so we can get the fuck out.

- Mozambique, pretty much every day that we drove- the same every time, police stops us, says we are speeding, we say thats impossible (the roads are fucking terrible and we were in a shitbox compact car with tiny wheels). They say speeding means we have to go to the police station (again not true, technically its just a ticket) but we are surrounded by them and its dark too - so I proceed to say "vamos a falar la de homen a homem" (lets go over there and talk man to man) give him $10 and drive off. A situation like this or similar happened around 5 times in the week I was there.
I also had a much more painful one but we ended up not having to pay, instead we wasted 4 hours at a police station - in hindsight, paying would've been much better.
From all the stories I hear about Mozambique, I think we actually lucked out though. We met some south africans that said the cop asked for their passports and then KEPT the passports for ransom until they paid some huge amount of money.

Another tip for when you're driving yourself in Africa or South America as a gringo (aka corrupt police magnet) is to keep all your money spread out in different places: some in your wallet, some under the carpet, some in the trunk, etc etc. Because if they see you have $100 in your wallet, you will have to give them the $100. Keep it all spread out.

- Uganda, just a few days ago I go back to a bar that I've been to a handful of times now. The bouncer is some rasta dude which I always shake hands with and have some small chat about whatever, now this time he says "welcome back, can I tell you something?" so he takes me a bit outside of the bar and says to me "hey, you seem to be doing well here, why dont you give me some cash? like $10 or $20 would be ok. you bring a lot of girls here and I never said anything". I'm like what? I try to laugh it off, and trying to figure out what to do here. One side of me says, its not much and he's a good sport. But the other side of me says, what the fuck- I cant financially reward this kind of behavior, fuck the guy. So I ended up saying to him "haha you're funny maybe next time dude"... but I haven't been back yet. So what would you guys do in that situation?

I am mainly worried that by paying this guy once, he will keep asking later. And I could also tell the owner of the bar (an expat) about this and the bouncer could lose his job. I know life is rough out here, but that shit rubs me the wrong way. What would you do?
(This post was last modified: 11-29-2018 04:59 AM by TwinTurbo.)
11-29-2018 04:31 AM
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Mikestar Offline
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Post: #2
RE: Bribing & Greasing Hands in the third world
Good thread

Mexico - my drunk friend pissed in a bush on the street, cops pulled over, put handcuffs on him and put him in the back. They demanded something like 2000 pesos, ended up getting it down to 800 luckily.

Also, it was often we would get in a taxi which was a 7 seater but there were 11 passengers. The taxi driver would often say, this is illegal, I can’t have this many people and some dude would slap cash in his hand and he would start driving. Then often everyone proceeded to do lines of Coca Cola even in the front seat.
11-29-2018 04:39 AM
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the-dream Offline
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Post: #3
RE: Bribing & Greasing Hands in the third world
If you're driving in a 3rd world country, I think this is pretty unavoidable but when it first started happening to me, I was massively overpaying.

Here's 2 things to keep in mind that should reassure you that they are just bluffing when they demand any more than a few dollars:

- A cop in a 3rd world country's salary is probably no more than $10 per day for full day's work. A traffic warden or bouncer, even less.

- The official fines for traffic violations are usually no more than $5 or $10. There is usually no such thing as getting points on your license or getting your license revoked like in a developed country, the official process is just to pay a small fine.
11-29-2018 05:27 AM
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MANic Offline
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RE: Bribing & Greasing Hands in the third world
Lol at the old Mozambique trick. I drive up into Moz just about every second month and things have gotten much better recently (granted I drive mainly as far north as Beira), not sure when you were there though.

I never pay bribes, unless I was actually in the wrong (rarely if ever - in most cases you've just got to call their bluff - the police station thing is usually just a threat).

The greasing hands thing is tough - if you're frequenting an establishment I suppose modest tips can make it an altogether much more pleasant experience but never give too much or to too many people (never play rich either). Sadly, in Africa (like much of the third world) every second guy will be looking for something (people view you as a fucking free atm).. I'd keep it small and only if you frequent an establishment or you're actually guilty of an offence(remember $10 is a pretty decent tip and slightly much for a bouncer in Africa).
I guess much depends on the individual circumstance but def don't be too liberal
(This post was last modified: 11-29-2018 05:28 AM by MANic.)
11-29-2018 05:27 AM
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RE: Bribing & Greasing Hands in the third world
Like you said, for some reason bouncers always demand money in return for nothing here in the Philippines. It is annoying and like you, I usually just refuse then avoid those bars but that's not ideal and leaves a sour taste in my mouth.

It can work in your favour too though. For example, there's a bar here in Manila that costs $20 cover and you need to be on the guestlist to get in but you could just grease the bouncer $5 and he'd give you a "friends of the club" token to get in free. I save a lot of money and hassle and the bouncer makes probably 60% of what he'd make in the whole night of bouncing for a few seconds of effort.
11-29-2018 05:33 AM
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RE: Bribing & Greasing Hands in the third world
This is probably going to be the dumbest extortion story on here but technically it was. In the Philippines, I was island hopping with a girl I met in Manila but grew up in the province. We go to Palawan and on the last day take an overnight bus from El Nido back to Puerto Princesa to catch a morning flight. We get back at 4 am and I didn't sleep at all on the bus, so I'm dead tired. There are trike drivers waiting at the bus station, so I grab a driver to go to the airport.

All week, I had been paying 20-40 pesos (40-80 cents) for rides. I'm tired enough where I forget to ask about price. We finish the ride and I hand the guy 60 pesos because it's late. He shakes his head no to me and says I need to pay 200 pesos ($4). Now, this is chump change for me, but like the first story, I didn't want to reward deceptive behavior and I'm a man of principle that did not like the idea of being taken for a typical western fool (I ran into tourists that were overpaying all week).

So I try to reason with the guy and tell him I'm aware of how much rides cost in this town, citing prices I got all week. Not surprisingly, he sticks to his guns. About 3 Filipino guys were walking around late and see us having a bit of a standoff by the bike. They all try to get me to pay. I knew this was escalating a bit too much for $4, so I decided I was gonna try one more time and if it doesn't work, just take the L.

The Filipina I'm with even starts whispering I should just pay. I talk to him again separately, but he gets mad I try to negotiate down with him and just screams that he's changing the price to 400 pesos. I knew I pretty much lost there. Or at least I thought.

The girl I'm with hears this in the back and goes into a fucking rage on the trike driver. I think then it finally fully clicked to her why I was originally upset with the guy. 400 pesos is a days pay for her, so she views this as bad extortion even for me. The two start screaming in Tagalog in the middle of the street. 1-2 more guys hear this and my girl actually gets to them first to take my side. No one can speak English well so I'm left standing there trying to figure out what's being said.

My girl suggests to call the cops. I thought this was a horrible idea given the likely corruption that could happen. But surprisingly, that actually resolved the situation somewhat. As I expected, the cops ended up holding the original 200 pesos and said I had to pay since we didn't come to an agreement in advance.

Supposedly they took in the trike because the driver didn't have a real license plate. The Filipina believed that. My take was I just gave the extortion money to the cops instead of the dick that tried it originally. Or at least gave them a cut.

Moral of the story. If it's reasonable money, sometimes it's easier just to pay even if you are getting the western price.

As far back as I could remember, I always wanted to be a player.

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11-29-2018 06:37 AM
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RE: Bribing & Greasing Hands in the third world
In Chiang Mai, Thailand there are plenty of cop traps after a turn, where you don't expect them. The fee for no international license is around 200 bahts or $6 but if you're foreigner they'll try to ask 500 bahts or even 1000 bahts. I have the international license but not the motorcycle stamp so half the time they'd forget to check that and let me go. But after 3 times of giving them 300 bahts I said it's the last time I'll pay them and now I don't even stop when they urge me to pull over on the side of the road. I slow down, use the turn signal to make them believe I'll stop, then suddenly I accelerate like a madman and escape. Gives me a good adrenaline rush it's addicting. Now after doing that many times I don't even have the adrenaline rush of doing it so sometimes I stop and I tell them lies. That I already paid yesterday at another cop-trap (I know the locations by heart) and they just believe me because they probably don't keep coordinated between police officers. I feel almost bad for not giving them a dime anymore. Police in Thailand is very nice except when they screwed me up at the beginning.
11-29-2018 07:08 AM
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Hydrae Cube Offline
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Post: #8
RE: Bribing & Greasing Hands in the third world
It's Americans that are mostly into the "Greasing Palms" thing. I only do it when it's absolutely necessary, otherwise I get what I want by being nice, polite and friendly
11-29-2018 07:20 AM
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scotian Offline
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Post: #9
RE: Bribing & Greasing Hands in the third world
^Thanks for your contribution to this thread, faggot.

God damned them all, I was told we'd cruise the seas for American gold, we'd fire no guns-shed no tears, now I'm a broken man on a Halifax pier, the last of Barrett's privateers!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZIwzRkjn86w
11-29-2018 09:27 AM
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Hydrae Cube Offline
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RE: Bribing & Greasing Hands in the third world
Trying search "Greasing Palms" in the forum, almost every guy who talks about it will be an American poster.

I would call you a sausage jockey, but I don't have enough of a post count to do that Smile
11-29-2018 10:05 AM
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scotian Offline
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RE: Bribing & Greasing Hands in the third world
So tell us which countries you’ve been asked for bribes in and how you got out of paying them instead of shitting on Yanks in a passive aggressive manner.

God damned them all, I was told we'd cruise the seas for American gold, we'd fire no guns-shed no tears, now I'm a broken man on a Halifax pier, the last of Barrett's privateers!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZIwzRkjn86w
11-29-2018 10:20 AM
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RE: Bribing & Greasing Hands in the third world
(11-29-2018 10:20 AM)scotian Wrote:  So tell us which countries you’ve been asked for bribes in and how you got out of paying them instead of shitting on Yanks in a passive aggressive manner.

Terrible language you use up there.....wherever it is you are from.

Indirect insults are a form of art, I wouldn't expect you to understand,

Come to think of it, those times when I think I may have paid a bribe, it was probably actually a fine, for example riding my motorbike with no helmet, license, and drunk in Bali.

If I book a hotel through booking.com I always note 2 guests, in case I bring back a tart.

I don't have to grease any palms going into nightclubs as i'm good looking and dressed to the 9's, none of this "You make sure me and my boys don't get in no trouble *wink wink* " stuff.

Many Americans seem fearful when travelling overseas, they have been told going oversea is a fool's errand and they had better be prepared to be beaten, robbed, and have to bribe their way out of travel wherever they go.

That's not to say I wouldn't pay a bribe if need be, I know that if I start a company where I am currently it would be a regular occurrence. But day to day I cannot think of an instance where it would be required.
11-29-2018 12:37 PM
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Bikal Offline
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RE: Bribing & Greasing Hands in the third world
(11-29-2018 10:05 AM)Hydrae Cube Wrote:  Trying search "Greasing Palms" in the forum, almost every guy who talks about it will be an American poster.
Okay to switch it up, I'm a Brit Whip

I will make a donation if it makes sense but with the traffic police in Russia, I take delight in forcing an official fine as it's a headache for them to handle due to being a foreigner, they'll usually stop the BS and let you go Banana
11-29-2018 12:39 PM
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the-dream Offline
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RE: Bribing & Greasing Hands in the third world
Scotian, when I read this thread you sprung to mind as one of the members who I thought might have some great stories and was hoping to see a post from you. Please do share if my suspicion was correct!
11-29-2018 02:36 PM
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LINUX Away
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Post: #15
RE: Bribing & Greasing Hands in the third world
I had a man try to rob me in Colombia. I was having a bad day so I chose to fight. After an ambulance came for him, It left me having to pay the cops $100 to avoid the paperwork that could possibly get my visa revoked. It was my word against his.

In New Orleans I had a rental car. As I was pumping gas, five minutes before I was due to turn the car in, a gust of wind caught the door as I opened it and slammed it against one of those big yellow cylinders that you find at gas station pumps. The deductible was about $500. As I turned the car in, I told the Hatian guy checking the car that he does a good job and gave him a $50 tip. Never heard a word from Hertz about the big ass hole in the door.

When owning real estate in the states, certain cities make their money by charging landlords for illegal dumping beside the dumpster, sofas, mattress, chairs, etc.. The Mexican trash truck drivers get a $100 tip every season around move in/move out time. This saves me a few grand.

I once needed a transmission for my car. I walked into the transmission shop and they game me a estimate. I asked the owner if he could show me on my car what he was talking about. I didnt want him to show me, I just wanted to isolate him away from the employees. As we walked outside, I said "Ok, how much if I pay cash, with no paperwork. ". I dont recall how much of a discount I got but it was a lot. I wouldn't of done this at a third-world shop. But this was a blue-collar white man in his 40s, so I trusted his word. 8 years later, transmission still works great.

No one likes being fleeced but you have to learn to play the game.
(This post was last modified: 11-29-2018 03:20 PM by LINUX.)
11-29-2018 03:03 PM
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RE: Bribing & Greasing Hands in the third world
I think that bribin' and greasin' could be an extension of American tipping culture, which is not so popular in other countries.
11-29-2018 03:42 PM
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Cam Newton Offline
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RE: Bribing & Greasing Hands in the third world
(11-29-2018 03:42 PM)Not-a-libtard Wrote:  I think that bribin' and greasin' could be an extension of American tipping culture, which is not so popular in other countries.

How so? I mean, they both are a means of unofficially giving someone money, but that’s where the comparison ends in my book.

Bribery seems to be a result of a combination of a low trust culture (low in trust of strangers and institutions), and poverty. Tipping seems to have a very different causal chain.
11-29-2018 04:05 PM
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Philosopher Offline
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RE: Bribing & Greasing Hands in the third world
On a cross country trip through Ukraine in 2012 to the Hungarian border, was stopped by the police on 3 different occasions for "speeding." My gf's car had a Russian liscense plate so that attracted additional attention. The first time was on the way to Kiev in Kiev region and ended up paying $30 after a long argument. Next on the way out of Kiev was stopped, the cop was very angry and wanted to make a court date. The next one was in Zhitomerskiy region where I just immediately stretched out the cash without even talking. The cop immediately became nice and told me which towns ahead of my will have "greedy cops" and suggested going 10 kilometers below the speed limit.

Had a similar experience in Kursk region of southern Russia om 2013. There the drivers going the other way were nice enough to blink their headlights at you to warn you about the roadblock.

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11-29-2018 07:21 PM
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edlefou Offline
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RE: Bribing & Greasing Hands in the third world
In Goa police will stop tourists on motorbikes for various reasons like no helmet (which nobody wears), no license, headlights on during the day, etc. Anything to get a bribe.

I paid 300 rupees once, which is around $5, and then I avoided the places they set up the check points.

Regardless of where you are, it's a good idea to find out from locals what the normal bribe amount is so that you don't spend too much.
11-29-2018 09:18 PM
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TwinTurbo Offline
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RE: Bribing & Greasing Hands in the third world
(11-29-2018 07:20 AM)Hydrae Cube Wrote:  It's Americans that are mostly into the "Greasing Palms" thing. I only do it when it's absolutely necessary, otherwise I get what I want by being nice, polite and friendly

For sure being charismatic, polite and friendly will get you far in life - but it won't always get you out of situations where corrupt police and officials have decided you are going to need to give them a week's salary because you are "foreign and rich" and can afford it, and they have the power to ruin your day or whole vacation

If you read the rest of comments here you will see that sometimes one is forced to bribe and grease hands - wether you're american or not, so I think it's valuable for all us adventurous travelers here to know and learn from each other's mishaps.

And separately from bribing, I was curious too see how people have proactively greased hands to great benefit, which IMO is another great weapon for your arsenal. LINUX's example of slipping a rental company worker $50 to save $500 is a great example of this
(This post was last modified: 11-30-2018 04:02 AM by TwinTurbo.)
11-30-2018 03:20 AM
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RE: Bribing & Greasing Hands in the third world
(11-30-2018 03:20 AM)TwinTurbo Wrote:  For sure being charismatic, polite and friendly will get you far in life - but it won't always get you out of situations where corrupt police and officials have decided you are going to need to give them a week's salary because you are "foreign and rich" and can afford it, and they have the power to ruin your day or whole vacation

If you read the rest of comments here you will see that sometimes one is forced to bribe and grease hands - wether you're american or not, so I think it's valuable for all us adventurous travelers here to know and learn from each other's mishaps.

Don't rain on his parade, he's just trying to prove how much of a good looking, well dressed, experienced traveler he is. Good thing guys like that go out of their way to announce those kinds of things on message boards or we would never know who is who. This forum doesn't allow guys to exaggerate those things to make up for their obvious insecurities or we would have an absolute shit show on our hands.
11-30-2018 03:56 AM
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RE: Bribing & Greasing Hands in the third world
(11-29-2018 03:03 PM)LINUX Wrote:  I had a man try to rob me in Colombia. I was having a bad day so I chose to fight. After an ambulance came for him, It left me having to pay the cops $100 to avoid the paperwork that could possibly get my visa revoked. It was my word against his.

That dude got fucking owned. Are you fucking rambo or something?

I love a good karma story like that.
I had a karmatic thief experience too- in Santo Domingo, I was walking home at night from center to my place nearby with a bottle of mamajuana in my hand that was supposed to be a souvenir.
Suddenly a fucking mamaguevo jumps out of a corner, he tries to snatch the phone out of my hand but I had drunken cat reflexes and slammed him over the head with my fancy square mamajuana bottle. Must have brained him pretty hard because he almost fell flat on the floor, but managed to get up quickly and run back into his partner's car and they drove off. There was blood on the bottle and on the floor.

I was scared shitless though - thinking they would come back to strip me of my organs, so I ran back on that street, looking for any open doors and eventually got into a random person's house, some dominican abuelo was there fixing a motorbike in the garage but they were chill and let me stay there for a bit until I knew for sure the bad guys had left.

TLDR- when in DR, always carry a bottle of rum with you. It will be handy in one way or another
(This post was last modified: 11-30-2018 04:37 AM by TwinTurbo.)
11-30-2018 04:12 AM
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RE: Bribing & Greasing Hands in the third world
Another one when I was commuting to work in Moscow in 2011 by local train and the Yaroslav train station had its exit closed at about 7 in the morning. Some guys were selling "exit"(a ticket which you need to get out of the station if you bought the wrong ticket prior) tickets nearby for twice the price. I was in a hurry so paid them.

"The unexamined life is not worth living." - Socrates
11-30-2018 08:25 AM
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RE: Bribing & Greasing Hands in the third world
"Another tip for when you're driving yourself in Africa or South America as a gringo (aka corrupt police magnet) is to keep all your money spread out in different places: some in your wallet, some under the carpet, some in the trunk, etc etc. Because if they see you have $100 in your wallet, you will have to give them the $100. Keep it all spread out"

This advice is the most important thing.... helped me in Kenya. Someone else told me this. Never have all your cash in one place. Never.
11-30-2018 06:30 PM
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RE: Bribing & Greasing Hands in the third world
Great thread

South East Asia
Same story for every country except Malaysia and Singapore. The classic international drivers licence checkpoints. However, unlike many of the guys here, I NEVER once paid.

My strategy was to simply put my phone in my shirt pocket, and then tell the officers nicely "by the way, I was taking some video of me riding here, and my phone may still be recording". They think for a minute, then always let me go. Worked 100% of the time.

I talked to some ballsy Expats who say they don't even stop, and the cops never care enough to pursue.

I don't know if I'd rely on this in a more violent shithole, like Africa or South America, but for SEA it worked.
11-30-2018 07:04 PM
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