Tourists in Copenhagen are still in danger of being targeted by con artists posing as fake policemen.
By, Amy Melki and Hyebin Yoo
Despite reports in Copenhagen about robbery incidents where tourists find themselves conned by ordinary men who pose as fake policemen, not much has been done in the Danish capital to fight this crime. According to a Danish police officer at the police department in Copenhagen Central Station, most of these robbery incidents occur in areas that do not have camera surveillance or the presence of real police officers. This in turn makes it more difficult for police officers to catch these robbers.
Although there is no special method to the way these fake policemen work, previous incidents have shown that they approach tourists and intimidate these foreigners by claiming that they are local authority. Fake policemen mainly target Asian tourists such as Japanese, Chinese and Koreans, due to the idea that people from Asian countries are less likely to question those in authority. Another reason why these aggressors target tourists from Asian countries is because they are known to prefer the use of cash money than credit cards when traveling.
Fake policemen usually carry out their crimes around touristic areas, such as Copenhagen’s famous mermaid statue, that attract visitors from all over the world. These robbers work in groups of two or three where they aggressively demand tourists to show personal identification or identify how much money they are carrying. Fake policemen also demand on-the-spot fines from tourists for “breaking the law.”
These robbery reports coming out of Copenhagen may be shocking as Copenhagen is known to be one of the safer European cities.
“I think Denmark is a quite safe country and I never experienced any unsafe situations here,” said Kyoungjin, a South Korean tourist visiting Copenhagen. “However, before I got here I heard that these days Denmark is not as safe a country and people are having their bags or wallets stolen.”
Although these robberies occur in Denmark, the robbers carrying out these crimes are not Danish citizens. According to a Copenhagen Central Station police officer, all fake policemen are from Eastern European countries such as Bulgaria and Poland.
Dimitri, a Bulgarian tourist visiting Copenhagen with his friends, was asked about his opinion concerning the infamous reputation that the people of his country are obtaining due to the acts of these Eastern European robbers.
“Being Eastern Europe we learn to question authority and be more cautious,” said Dimitri, “Maybe this is something that these robbers exploit.”
Fake police officers chose not to target Danish locals since it is very rare for police officers to demand identification from Danish residence. Because Danish locals are aware of this fact, they are not easily influenced or pressured to show any sort of identification to police officers. Danish police officers are always required to identify themselves when they are asked or in situations where they are approaching Danish residents. Every Danish police officer has an identification number on their uniforms that is made up of four digits and one letter. Tourists’ lack of knowledge concerning this identification process makes them vulnerable in such situations where they are approached by fake police officers.
“It doesn’t sound like a very ethical thing to do. I can kind of understand why they target Asians because a lot of them are tourists and they seem like they are easily deceived,” said Michael, a young American tourist visiting Copenhagen with his family.
Upon their arrival to Denmark, the South Korean foreign ministry has sent out warning messages to all its South Korean citizens to be aware of pickpockets as well as fake policemen across the city and especially in touristic areas. The message also warns South Koreans not to venture into dangerous neighborhoods.