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Bribery and Corruption

October 1, 2015 0 Comments
Camping in Kazakhstan

Our Camping Spot on 1st October

We’ve been in Kazakhstan a few days. Because of the cold in Siberia / Russia, we headed south after getting to 56° North. Tomsck, Siberia, Russia. Great place. Blogs to follow, but not just now…

I was pulled over for speeding today, October 1, at about 3.00pm, for doing 72km/h in a 60 zone. I can’t argue with the speed, who knows what the limit was. Entry to a town called Kabanbay.

There were three cops in a white van with a radar gun. One cop was outside with the red batten, flagging people down, while the older one sat in the front of the van. Number three was in the back of the van, with the gun, pocketing the cash.

Cop number one asked me to walk to the van, so I did. In the back of the van, cop three showed me a photograph of the Cruiser, with 72km/h as the speed. He then showed me the fine was 27,963 Tenge according to a tabulation he had at the back of his folder. About $200AUD.

I gave him my international driver’s licence, but he wasn’t interested. He asked for and took my NSW drivers licence and said he would give me a ticket, I would go away and pay the fine, and then he would give the licence back, after I had paid the fine – God knows where.

Some time was spent using Google to translate, as I was happy (happy?) with the ticket, happy (happy?) to pay, but I wanted my driver’s licence back before I left his van. No deal, but then he said I could pay him cash and he would give me back my licence. I said I was happy to pay, but I wanted a receipt. We used Google translate on his phone to get the message across. I also then said 27,963 Tenge sounded too high for only 12km/h over the limit, as when I looked at the tabulation, while I couldn’t read a word, the amount was on the high side of all the amounts in the tabulation.

He then wrote 25,000 t, on a bit of paper, so I went and got my cash. Came back, a bit of argy bargy about a receipt. I went to give him the cash, but he got me to put it under the folder. Then there was some animated discussion about a receipt. Then he got one of his forms, crossed out two form blocks, signed something on them, and waved me away, as if that was the end. But he would not give me a bit of paper, or a copy of what he had signed off.

I got really annoyed, lifted the folder, took the cash, grabbed the licence and started to argue. He argued. He got my licence back and proceeded to write out a receipt. I was more than a little concerned about the young cop, with a great big hand gun, positioned behind me. I added the words that the speed was 72kmh and got him to sign. The document is in Kazak or Russian, so I don’t know what it says.

The whole episode took a good 3/4 of an hour. I assume it is a receipt. When I find an English-speaking Kazak-reading person, I will get them to explain. The dialogue became quite confrontational, and three armed cops in uniform have all the power. And the advantage of reading Kazak.

During this time, cop one flagged down about six cars.

Barry, and separately, Lynn confirmed with me later that, of the people in the cars pulled over one or two walked away back to their cars with a bit of paper, but the rest walked up with cash in their hand, shook hands and walked away empty handed and drove off.

Barry and Lynn saw cop two shake hands with a driver with a yellow shirt. Barry saw the driver had cash in his hand before the handshake and no cash after the handshake. The yellow shirt guy got into his car and drove away.

I saw people milling about, but didn’t know this was happening as I was concentrating on the language difference and trusting the men in uniform.

It maybe that we have stumbled into a local scam. Some NZ bicycle people, at Charyn Canyon, talked of a scam, up north. We’ll see.


The document I got IS a receipt. I’m delighted, as there is no need to track the issue down. The comments about the “4000 Tenge handshake” still stand.

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