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Mongolian Police as Criminals

The Mongolian police are by far the worst criminal element in Mongolia since they are the most numerous in number. Pay scales can be cited as the problem; however, they are the "police" and are the most untrusted force in Ulaanbaatar. Leaving Santis one evening (my second week) after a long line of classes, I was followed by two of Ulaanbaatar's finest who finally stopped me. "Passport" one officer demanded! Then came a physical search including my briefcase. These gentlemen then relieved me of approximately $120 in Tugriks and told me to get out of Mongolia. I went to local police station to ask what my violation had been and was told they had no idea and ignored me.

On three different occasions in four weeks, local police entered the Mealody Restaurant and Jazz Club in Ulaanbaatar just before 10:00 PM. The first time they demanded the owner pay each of the three officers 50,000 Tugriks for operating after 10:00 PM. When they were told they would not get paid, they walked around trying to intimidate customers, especially foreigners in demanding money.

The next time, police officers arrived with movie cameras demanding payment or Mealody's patrons would be shown on public TV as lawbreakers and drunks. Again, this failed to bring forth payment. On the last occasion, all foreign teachers left promptly at 9:50 PM as the police, in a force of approximately 20 in number, showed up with dogs and parked on Mealody's porch while watching their timepieces. Whatever happened is unknown. The Mealody continued to remain open but at what cost is unknown.

Over the course of the next few weeks, I observed police officers on nearly every corner who stopped cars for no apparent reason and often collected money from drivers. I later learned there was a new law in effect that required "fines" to be paid at a government office location due to police corruption in pocketing money from drivers.

On another occasion, I observed police in a personal vehicle back over a woman on the sidewalk. She was hurt and trying to get up. The police officer on the passenger side got out and pulled her to her feet, shoving her down the street and saying something cruel sounding. She was crying, trying to walk on an injured leg and ankle in trying to get away. The officer behind the wheel shook his police baton at me—a Mongolian English teacher told me, "He's trying to warn you that he is police and you should ignore him."


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