An online article describing a Taiwanese traveler’s unpleasant experience in Malaysia has caused widespread discussion in the country.
The article, Legal Gun-toting Gangster in Langkawi, was posted on backpackers.com, a popular Web site where travel information can be exchanged. According to the article, the author and seven companions were traveling on the island of Langkawi in a rented car when they were requested to stop by a policeman, who asked to see their international driving licences.
The policeman told them they had been speeding and that there were too many people in the car. He said the fine for the offenses was 300 ringgit (US$99).
In an attempt to issue another fine, the policeman then said that passengers in the back seat were not wearing seat belts and requested them to hand over their passports.
During subsequent communications, the author said it became apparent that the situation was not going to be solved easily. At that point, the policeman offered the travelers “a way out,” explaining that if they paid 500 ringgit “off the books,” they would be able to leave with their hired car and no further police harassment.
According to the article, the author’s friends secretly recorded the conversation with the policeman and took his picture, which they delivered to Taiwan’s representative office in Malaysia. The office has turned the evidence over to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission for investigation.