Bizarre questions asked by customs officers

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Talking about bizzare questions, I as a German born decades after the war had again to answer whether I'm a Nazi war criminal when filling out the ESTA for a trip to the US.

 

Considering that anyone older than 14 in 1945 is now at least in his 80's, I think it's reasonable to assume that the number of cases where it has an impact to ask this question to a German tourist is extremely low.

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Once whilst going through passport control in Dusseldorf (leaving Germany), the passport guy took my passport, looked at it (I'm British with a British non-biometric passport) and asked me if I spoke German. I told him I did, and he just replied with 'rightly so. I shouldn't have to bother speaking English.' He then asked for my flight ticket (which I admittedly handed over without questioning) and he stamped both documents. Still can't figure that one out.

 

I was also asked, upon entering Japan (my 3rd visit), if I was going to work as a 'hostess' or 'model'. I said no and he checked my suitcase to see what type of clothing I had packed.* As it was winter, I had packed all my warm, very unsexy clothes and certainly had nothing questionable. He was not a happy guy when he handed my passport back to me.

 

*For those who haven't been to Japan, you have to declare that you have nothing to declare instead of simply walking through a channel. You queue at a desk and your bags and suitcase are checked in front of you and those waiting behind the desk. They also keep hold of your passport during the check.

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i'm sure they were happy just to make casual chit chat and not have to say..

 

"Um...you know that you are not allowed to stuff live chickens in your luggage, right?"

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I've driven in and out of Dover since the 70s, alway sin a UK registered car. The first time I went back with German number plates, I was stopped by customs.

"Why are you coming to Britain?"

"I'm visiting my daughter and grandson."

"How long are you staying?"

"One week."

"Are you planning any trips from here?"

"What do you mean?"

"I mean are you flying anywhere while here?"

"I'm here for a week to visit my daughter, I don't think I'll have time for extra trips."

"Do you realise it's illegal to bring in drugs?"

I had to think at this point. Which of the answers that flew through my brain should I give to this moron. The look in my wife's face told me what to say.

"Yes."

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Again not a question but a Thai customers officer once opened my box of hand-rolled Indonesian cigars, helped himself to three or four of them and moved me on. The power of little-brained men. Imagine if I´d said anything...

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There was a time when security at Dublin airport suspected me of being an undercover journalist trying to test out their security system (long story...). Anyway, amongst other things, a Garda was called over, who requested my passport.

 

The whole thing took a while, as they were asking me very strange, evasive questions, which made no sense really. So it must have been at least 20 minutes after this Garda had taken hold of my passport that suddenly, something that I've said startles him, and he asks: "Are you GERMAN?"

 

D'oh!

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This is trivial. The officer was using his power position to spit a little bit of his national stereotypes right into your face, with a smile. :ph34r:

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I was a teenager travelling with my parents to the Dominican Republic on a medical missions trip (basically, doctors travelling to small villages giving fee medical care). As part of it my parents had collected medicine donations or samples from drug companies so our suitcases were stuffed. At one point the customs official asked my mum what a specific drug was. "For hemorrhoids" she says. "Do they work?" he asked.

 

It wasn't until we were out of the airport that she thought he might have needed them and we should have just given it to him.

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"Do you realise it's illegal to bring in drugs?"

I had to think at this point. Which of the answers that flew through my brain should I give to this moron. The look in my wife's face told me what to say.

"Yes."

 

Of course the question sounds stupid to you (to me as well). But I can imagine they are trained to ask such questions because any person that is smuggling drugs is probably trained by his handlers to answer 'no' to any question about drugs...

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Is there a particular reason why customs are interested in whether I play or watch footy? I sure don't look like a football fan.

 

These questions are random in nature and open to interpretation to often pull out 'tells' from people to see if they're nervous/rattled or have some hidden motive.

 

If you acted closed and shifty to a question that seems to be quite casual/open/friendly that's a pretty clear tell that you might have something to hide and worth a closer inspection, the same if you act overly friendly.

 

They've a bunch of techniques to try and find people hiding stuff from watching the way people walk behind one-way mirrors to random stops and questions like these.

 

You'll find the same sort of behaviour at certain immigration control points (the US being the most obvious one), my girlfriend traveling to Chicago with her university friends on an exchange got asked "Why are you so happy?" :lol:

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back when they had border controls between the Rep. Of Ireland and Northern Ireland, we were heading up to Enniskillen in the car, my Mum was driving but forgot to bring her driver's licence and had no form of ID with her at all, we got stopped by 2 really scary looking customs guys with machine guns, one of the fellas came over to the driver's window and asked my Mum did she have any ID, she said no, she forgot it, then he said:

.

.

.

.

"right, do you have a light then", lit up his cigarette with my mums lighter, handed it back to her and told her to have a safe onward journey ;)

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Sometimes the German guys don't see my Unbefrissteteaufenthaltserlaubnis in my passport. They always ask how long I'm staying in Germany. I just tell them, with a bit of Hessisch... "until the Finanzamt sucks me dry". Always gets the nod of approval.

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The cops aren't really the brightest, but I still can't understand someone could have mistaken me for a footy fan.. and that's what it was, cracking down on English football fans.

Perhaps they thought you might be one of those professional football hooligans who don't look like football fans.

http://www.breakingnews.ie/archives/2004/0507/world/kfeygbgbaukf

http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/news/article-10637604-teacher-is-yob-mastermind.do (photo)

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I guess it's not just an issue with the passport control when random queries are concerned.

 

A colleague of mine was asked to open up his bag at the security checks, only for the security guy to peruse the German-English dictionary, then thank my colleague for the use of his dictionary in having helped resolve a query that the security team had been debating amongst themselves for the last few hours...

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Last week my wife received her suitcase with a tag indicating it had been searched by customs. It contained just clothes - and a watertight "beach safe". I guess this was the reason. Not because it was suspicious. I guess the guys just had betted on who would find the first sex toy of the day...

post-95410-1316540635143.jpg

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I was asked by the BGS if I could speak German. I told him sure a little, then he proceeded to ask me where I lived. After I told him, and walked away, I could here him saying very cheerfully 'She lives in Kelheim.' He was a hottie, so it didn't bother me one bit that he asked.

 

lol yes that happened to me too. And at JFK I was asked on two separate occasions if I would like to have coffee with customs officers. They were hotties too. :)

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In 1994, when I was 20 years old, some friends and i went across a bridge from the Canadian to the US side of the Niagara Falls. All we wanted to do was go over to the US side take some pics and have a coffee.

 

The customs officers from the US side were really rude and asked all sorts of personal questions - best question being : "what did you do between 1936 and 1945?" I guess as a german I must be automatically a Nazi even if I hadn't even been born yet and my parents & grandparents didn't even live in Germany till 1978...

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