Colombo check points myths


Its a good thing I’m not a salesperson of ball bearings and/or camera vests carting samples about the city. Since I got my new NIC (the process calls for longer blog post that I don’t have time to write) I’ve actually been stopped twice at a check point that had ignored me for months. Both at night (granted it was late – past 11pm on a week day) on the way back from fiancee’s. By the second time I had my NIC, charioteer’s license, insurance out with the doors unlocked, and the inside light on even before the constable came to my door. I was out of there in seconds.

Casual mention of the two checkpoint stops has brought forth a range of “advice” about how to avoid getting stopped. Some are plausible, others suspect. A few plain silly. Here’s the mixed bag:

  • Drive on the inside lane
  • Let a bunch of vehicles go ahead of you
  • Drive a small call with no more than 2 passengers.
  • Don’t drive alone
  • Drive alone
  • Drive before 11pm and after 6am
  • Drive behind a large passenger vehicle – particularly a van
  • Make sure you wash your chariot
  • Don’t drive slow
  • Drive below the speed limit
  • Don’t look at the checkpoint

I’ve noticed that at the one check point I drive through the most, an assortment of vehicles get pulled over. Though its easy to think (without proper analysis) that its 3 wheelers and trucks/vans that get stopped because they are easy to recognise. But today I saw a flashy sliver limo/luxury car in there.

This particular check point (paved lay by, roof, lighting, and barriers with advertising) is operated by the Police (in traffic duty white cap cover and webbing). Oddly, there are no army uniforms. Only one constable at most with an oldish looking AK 47. In first world countries you’d get a breathalyzer test (had to add this link to lighten up). Far cry from the old timber sandbags and sand barrels of my childhood.

Still, its something to talk about between the cricket and the next attack. This is, after-all, a city of a minor third world country in a long profitable war. There is always something to talk about…

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5 thoughts on “Colombo check points myths

  1. checkpoints in colombo are mostly useless. read my post on them here.
    I think they are actually intended to give the foolish public of SL (which is the vast majority, judging by political decisions, courtesy on road, discipiline, etc.) a false sense of security. uuseless, if yeh ask me..

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  2. Totally forgot that check points had anything to do with “security” (what ever that’s supposed to mean these days – I guess not getting killed by falling AA shells doesn’t count) 😀

    I’ve got so used to them I’ve sub consciously tuned out the notion that they had a purpose other than slowing traffic now and then.

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  3. Have you ever thought of a security checkpoint from somebody manning it – I call this the security man’s (or woman’s) paradox – who should i stop:
    a)someone i can check out
    b)someone who may blow me up so my dependants can get something
    c)someone who i can hassle for a while to amuse me

    you got admit it really would take a substantial idiot to choose option b)

    With regards to checkpoints manned (or womanned) by cops – i always find it amusing when my wife pulls out her lawyer’s id – we are straight thru…

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  4. I’ve sympathized with the people (seen mostly men) who have to hang around in the fumes and the heat trying to make those choices 😉 Mainly it seems to be a dull job.

    Interesting you mentioned the lawyer’s id thing – I’ve heard something similar. Apparently a while back there was a major row with the Police and the legal community (Bar Association?). It ended up with the police being scared of hassling people bar assoc ion/credentials. Not sure what that was about.

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