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Beware - contact with the Law!

Barrie
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Beware - contact with the Law!

If you're traveling to Tanzania, be extremely careful of your interaction with people and the police.

I recently traveled to Dar es Salaam from North America on a vacation, which turned out to be nightmare. I was involved in an argument with a local man that led to the police being called. I ended up being charged for "verbal abuse" which is a criminal offense in Tanzania.

The corruption and bribery is insane and lawyers are very expensive. Apparently, there are quite a number of foreigners who end up in jail with similar cases because they don’t have a lawyer and anyone to bail them out.

It was quite disappointing to learn that my embassy was useless/incompetent in responding to the situation.

Findlay, Ohio
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1. Re: Beware - contact with the Law!

Embassy personnel will seldom get involved with a violation of a local law and you shouldn't expect them to do that.

For those of you reading this take this into account; you are well advised to avoid any temptation to get involved with things like this. Know that it would be much better to back off from an argument then go nose to nose with anyone there. Your feelings of "winning the argument" will be short-lived. You were lucky they only called the police and didn't handle you themselves. You don't know what kind of laws you are breaking and if you do break a law (either in fact or contrived up on the spot) you will be very sorry.

Count yourself lucky that they didn't throw you in jail and throw away the key.

This is not North America and you are a guest in their country, so act like a guest. They can conjure up laws to meet their needs, and there's nothing you or anyone else can do about that. Put this down to a lesson learned. Was the argument worth it or was alcohol involved?

And to say that you need to be very careful how you interact with people there is nonsense. I've been going there for over fifteen years many times each year, and I'm not all that careful about how I interact with people. Of course I don't defame them or argue with them forcefully and commit verbal abuse. I have had disagreements with some but you can disagree without being disagreeable. From what you said, you were most probably disagreeable and used name calling and vulgar language. Visitors should never do that and someone with common sense would know that. That is not tolerated in most communities.

Know that there are not quite a few foreigners who end up in jail there; in fact there are very few. Typically, the police there bend over backwards towards tourists, unless they get disrespectful, and then there are those who cannot control their tempers who do land in jail. That's not the country's problem, it's yours.

Isle of Man, United...
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2. Re: Beware - contact with the Law!

Well said Karl.

I may be wrong but I have a sneaky suspicion I have seen a similar post a few weeks back on similar lines.

Guy would not pay taxi fare, Police called! Pax slung in the cooler. Paid fine and when safely home started yelling "Corruption" etc.,

Are these two guys related? I think we should be told.

Findlay, Ohio
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for Tanzania, Ngorongoro Conservation Area
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3. Re: Beware - contact with the Law!

I was thinking that myself also. I don't know why people think that the Embassy should come to their rescue when the violate a local law by acting like a jerk, they won't and that's not what they're for. When you misbehave you get into trouble, anywhere in the world, some places more serious then others.

What he is apparently unaware of is that most everywhere has laws against battery, and one occurrence of battery is when someone makes offensive or insulting statements to the victim. If he's a North American then this applies to him in his own country. Just because he hasn't been charged with this (due to difficulties of prosecution) doesn't mean that we don't have the same laws.

No one likes those who get in your face during a disagreement and insult others with vulgarities; there are laws against that sort of behavior and quite honestly they should be used more often then they are and perhaps it would make people act with civility when reacting to others.

melbourne
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4. Re: Beware - contact with the Law!

Karl well said, I only know of 1 foreigner who ended up in jail later released after a high profile court case, lawyers in Tanzania are not expensive by comparison to Western Countries, and the government and local people bend over backwards to help and protect tourists and visitors. It is not hard to be polite and civil no matter where you are. Tanzania is especially a polite country and they expect others to be the same. Don't shout at a Tanzanian, you wont find them shouting at each other.

Isle of Man, United...
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5. Re: Beware - contact with the Law!

Oli,

"that's another fine mess you got us into Stanley!!"

6. Re: Beware - contact with the Law!

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