Tue, Mar 04, 2014 - Page 5 News List

Emergency line overrun with strange requests

By Cheng Shu-ting and Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Some people seem to view the 110 police emergency service line as an 24-hour problem-solving service, emergency workers said, with people dialing the number seeking assistance for a myriad of bizarre problems — from ghostly encounters and loud croaking frogs to cold air-conditioners on the public bus.

“One time when I was working the night shift, someone called 110 to complain about loud croaking noises coming from a pool nearby. He ask us to dispose of the frogs … and I was like, what?” a police officer from Taoyuan County said.

Another officer said he once received a call asking police to end his suffering caused by his neighbor’s roosters who awakened him at 5am everyday.

“Since there was no way we could silence the roosters, we had to convince the owner to move them,” the officer said.

Aside from noisy animals, alleged paranormal encounters are also a reason people call 110, officers said.

An officer said a young woman once called to report being sexually assaulted by “someone” in her sleep and described the alleged attack in vivid detail.

“We launched an investigation and found that the woman lived alone, but there were no signs of forced entry in her apartment,” the officer said.

As the woman insisted on pressing charges against that “someone,” the officer said he had no choice but to take her case and handle it in accordance with standard operating procedures.

The officer added that someone once called 110 to ask for help “exorcising a ghost that was possessing his friend’s body.”

“The police seems to be seen as an ‘all-purpose babysitter,’” another officer said, citing an incident last year in which a man dialed 110 and asked the police to tell the driver of the bus he was riding on to turn down the air-conditioner because “it was too cold.”

Other strange reasons for emergency calls have included: noise complaints caused by neighbors having loud sex; public telephones that “eat” NT$1 coins and intimidating stray dogs.

However, quirky calls are easier to deal with than some people who visit police stations, a police officer said, citing an example of a middle-aged woman who has bothered him and his co-workers.

“The woman stops by our police station almost every afternoon. She always bursts into tears the moment she walks into the station and even hugs our legs. We have tried to persuade her to tell us what is wrong, but to no avail,” the officer said.

“Equally annoying is a man who has been coming to the station almost every day for the past few years to vent his grievances,” the officer said, adding that the man has become somewhat of an “uninvited volunteer” at the station.

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