Monday, October 1, 2007

Strangely, He Didn't Offer a Receipt

Friday night, M and I drove our lovely little car to dinner. We were heading for our favorite Indian restaurant, and since it was our first time driving there, we took the same route that all the cab drivers have taken during the many, many times they have driven us to said restaurant.

Well, getting there involved making a right hand turn across a couple of lanes of traffic (we drive on the left hand side here). We made the turn and started down a dark back road, where we were waved down by a cop. Turns out, when we made the turn, we crossed a double white line, which is a no-no. I guess we didn't notice it because we were too busy trying not to get hit, hit anyone else, dodge the motorbikes that are whizzing by us, etc. Besides, every cab we have taken to this restaurant has gone this way, but DING!DING!DING! We were the lucky winners who got pulled over.

So he asked M for his license (which, luckily, we found the other day after misplacing it). He explained what we had done, we were apologetic, yada yada. He asked where we were from and we told him where we lived, but turned out he wanted to know where we were from, so we told him the US. Damn! I hate when we have to do that.

He proceeded to tell us that we could pay an on the spot fine. Now, we have never been pulled over before, so we didn't know how it worked here. The on the spot fine was RM 300, which is the going rate according to a couple of other expats we've talked to.

M didn't have cash, so the cop even escorted us to an ATM...holding up traffic and everything so that we could stay behind him. M got cash and the cop then proceeded to escort us to the restaurant. Along the way, on a dark and desolate street, he stopped and told us we could pay him there. Seriously. So we pay, and since at that point we didn't really know the neighborhood we were in, he escorted us to the restaurant.

As it turns out, he could have given us a ticket and according to some locals, the fine would have been about RM 100, which we would have then paid at the police station. I guess that other RM 200 must have been a "convenience" fee, right? Do you get my sarcasm? Are you sure? 'Cause I'm laying it on pretty thick.

Although, truth be told, I might opt for an on the spot fine again. Something tells me that going to the police station to pay a fine would not be an exercise in efficiency. Quite frankly, 200 ringgit is worth it to save my sanity. I have so little to spare these days.


At October 2, 2007 at 10:19 PM , Anonymous donna said...

What does that translate to in US dollars?

I would be so pissed! But I can see your point that the extra money would be worth it just to save more time and irritation.

I swear Sarah, you have a car for a week and you already go breaking the law.....

At October 12, 2007 at 12:03 AM , Anonymous reese said...

oh sarah honey, you got owned.

next time tell the cop you're happy to take the ticket and pay it later. Insist on being issued a ticket if it's clear he wants to either a) write you a ticket or b) give you an option to 'pay right now' with no ticket issued.

I know it's a PITA to pay a fine at the station, this situation, if the cop is caught, you will get screwed, too. It's bribery on the cops part, and apparently if you are caught aiding and abetting this (even if you don't KNOW that's what you're doing because obviously the cop didn't frame it that way to you) they bust you.

If the cop didn't issue you a ticket, then basically he just asked you to buy him off. Sometimes they 'plant' cops doing this to catch people who try to bribe cops.

I know you guys weren't trying to bribe...but here? They wont' care :( I'd hate to see M tossed in the slammer over it!


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home