Thursday, November 15

The Border Incident

So Dave had agreed to accompany me to Shenzhen from where I would cross the border to Hong Kong.

Our driver picked us up, and we sat back for an hour and carried on chatting like we've known each other for life, rather than just 4 days.

As we pulled into the drop zone by the border crossing a lot of things happened very quickly.

I got out and noticed lots of people including officials hovering around. This is not uncommon in China. Meanwhile Dave jumped out the other side and the driver got out to help me with my heavy suitcase.

Suddenly there were guys in uniforms talking to the driver, and Dave was speaking to a guy who was flashing a leather wallet containing an official looking badge.

I stood there bewildered for 10 seconds during which I noticed that we were being video-taped by 2 other guys in uniforms.

I already knew this was not candid camera.

An official asked me to bring my bags off the road, and someone drove the car away.

Dave was explaining who we were and what we were doing. There were complications, including that Dave didn't have his passport, so we were ushered to a porta-kabin where they took my passport.

An animated conversation with lots of hypotheticals took place in English and Chinese, during which time we were filmed. There was also a guy writing down a statement.

The upshot was that we had used an unlicensed driver. But we argued, reasoned that you could pay a friend to drop you off.

Also Dongguan taxis cannot drive the whole way down to the border, so what can you do?

We were told that we were not in trouble. We asked if the driver was. Silence!

Finally they put a written statement in front of us and were 'requested' to sign it. Yes. An actual confession!

The whole thing took about 30 minutes and was more surprising than shocking. I guess I'm slightly disappointed that we folded and signed the confession. Jack Bauer in 24 was tortured (and for 20 seconds) killed and he still didn't sign a piece of paper blaming his driver.

Unsurprisingly I have no photos from this event. However, the Shenzhen police do.

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