Fake or genuine militsia will try to trap you and even get your wallet out, though this happens very rarely. I found that the best way to deal with it is to make sure you write down their names and, if they are in a car, the license plate, since they will get into trouble if you report it. Speaking some Russian and dropping the name of a local police commissioner (just ask a local) will do wonders.
Unique Suggestions: Put most of your money somewhere hidden, and only what you can lose in the wallet. I never heard of anybody going beyond your wallet, so even a hidden money belt seems to work well. Say you're a student and, if you lose anything, don't bother reporting it-- but tell the militsia that you will. The government is trying to encourage tourism and would probably hassle the perps if you go to the trouble of reporting it. I went to a cop station, which was an interesting experience but a totally useless exercise in actually getting anything back. The main thing is to keep your cool and not take it personally.
Watch out for "Militsa" on Osh Bazar Bishkek!!!
After I made my choice for a shared taxi to Osh, a man approached me, who identified himself as “militsa” (police).
He told me to show my possessions as he wanted to check me on drugs. In the LP I had read that this kind of checks are quite regular, so at this stage I didn’t worry too much.
I knew what to do, but as he acted fast, secure and moreover was treating me aggressively as I were a criminal, I found myself intimidated. I feel ashamed to confess my stupidity, but well, you might benifit from this.
I had to take place on the backseat of a taxi. The militsa man took place at my right side and on my left side another guy tried to get in, but when I protested heavily he left. The frontseats were occupied as well. It felt really threatening, was afraid that they would drive away.
He checked my small backpack and my moneybelt (he said to check declaration form….), which I refused. But as he acted aggressively and I still thought he might be a real policeman, I handed over my money belt and that was my biggest mistake.
There was about $270 cash in it and I observed him closely as he counted the money. But the guys in front were continuously trying to get my attention and there must have been a moment of inattention because after they left me alone, saying everything was fine, I discovered a $100 note was missing and replaced by a $1.
Unique Suggestions: Never allow anyone to check your belongings. I was told later that it is forbidden by law for street police to search you!Related to:
- Budget Travel
English is the tourist's worst...
English is the tourist's worst enemy here. If you speak Russian, always speak it. If you speak anything other than English, speak it. Prices everywhere are jacked up for foreigners, but especially for those who speak English. There's really no way to get around it, so just be prepared for it.
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