Despite official figures showing a tiny crime rate in Luang Prabang, i and others who have been here recently believe this is a false figure, mainly due to the tourist police refusing to accept reported crimes or sign any documents accepting that a crime occured.
The couple me and my girlfriend are traveling with fell victim to a robbery on saturday night. Someone clearly entered their room through the door snatched a purse and a pair of shorts, then went around to the window and dumped these items minus a digital camera and 300 euro cash. They then poked little holes into the mesh in the window to make it appear that someone used some sort of stick to take the bag. This was impossible due to the bags location in the room. There were many reasons to believe it was someone who worked in the hostel who did it, but there is no point going into it, the important part is how the police dealt with this theft.
First off, the tourist police are closed on Sundays so they had to wait till monday. On monday the police came and inspected the room then they all went to the police station. At this stage the police accused my friends of making this all up and threatened to arrest them for reporting a false crime. My friends asked them to sign a document saying the robbery took place, the police refused. They then asked them to sign or stamp a document saying they went to the police station, again the police refused. Then the police inexplicably told them they were going to be arrested for being out after 12 oclock. There is a loosely enforced curfue of 12 in Luang Prabang, which the police like to pull out when it suits them. They then asked for 300 dollars to prevent them being arrested. They managed to get out of there without having to pay and without being arrested. But their robbery exists in no official file, and many ex pats living in Luang Prabang believe that the police don't want to report anything as this will discourage tourists from coming.
Be warned, Luang Prabang is a great place, very relaxed and friendly, i couldn't recommend it highly enough but despite its charm there is an unpleasant underbelly, so be vigilant and don't leave valuables lying around in your room.
#1 Pandaseatpeople has been a member since 5/8/2008. Posts: 2
Well I suggest you take this further - a LOT further. I would have asked to see the Chief of Police and made a complaint. Then I would have stated that I will report this to the Prefecture in Vientiane, send a letter to the PM's office, (seriously!), and report it on all travel web sites. I guarantee you would have got some action. The SEA Games are here next year - bad publicity is not needed.
I know thats what we're doing right now. They have been on to the embassy and are collecting the appropriate info (names, etc) and i am spreading the word on forums.
Regarding saying to the policeman they were dealing with about taking it further, they were in no position to make threats. He was extremely intimidating and refused to even give them his name...
#3 Pandaseatpeople has been a member since 5/8/2008. Posts: 2