Police News

Letter to Editor: Police Corruption on The Route to Liberia

Esta publicación también está disponible en: Español

I want to inform the public about the traffic police corruption I experienced during my drive from Jaco to Liberia area on January 11 around 10 in the morning. I went around a slow moving Semi-truck and unfortunately a police trap was waiting. The officers directed me to pull over.


They were white uniformed and had a blue truck and a tow truck was with them. They smiled and laughed when they realized I was a tourist. One officer asked for my passport and rental car registration. He said, “friend your vacation is over, please get out of the car”.


The two officers walked me over to the tow truck. The smaller officer opened a little violation booklet filled with prices in U.S. Dollars. He never informed me of what my violation was, but showed me a Spanish written booklet page with $600 written in.


The taller thinner officer said, “we can write you a ticket and you must go to the bank and pay $600 dollars. But my friend we will do you a favor. Pay us $300 and no ticket”.

The thinner officer said for me to talk with his partner and walked to the tow truck and seemed to be getting the tow truck ready to take my car.


I complained and asked for leniency but no mercy from the chubby shorter officer. I gave $300 and then he said, “I think you better give $50 more”. He gave me my passport and said I can go. I got in my rental car and he came up to the window and said, “no ticket, no ticket” and waved goodbye.


What amazed me was the corrupt policeman’s confidence to steal money from me and lack of fear about being caught.


I turned around and went back to Jaco. I gave up on visiting Liberia and the coastal area. The next day I visited a friend in Hermosa and his Costa Rican wife. I told them my story. The wife was mad and called the police chief in the Liberia area and reported my story. He said they know officers are scamming people. And he said if my violation was for passing a truck in a no passing zone, the fine would be less than $100.


He told her I should come back to Liberia and fill out a report. I told her without a 3rd party representative I am worried to go to the Liberia police station. The next day I talked with another friend and he told me there is a OIJ office in Jaco. I went to the OIJ office in Jaco and filled out a report. The Voice of Guanacaste has a copy of my report.


The experience with OIJ office in Jaco was difficult and gave me the feeling there is not much hope the corrupt police will be caught.


Hopefully the Internet and media can get the information out about the police corruption in Costa Rica. It is certain that those corrupt policeman have criminally targeted many people.

Costa Rica is a beautiful country with many good people and I am certain there are good Costa Rica police that protect citizens and tourists and the many expatriates that love the Pura Vida life of Costa Rica.


Editor note: this article has been modified from it original version. The reader did not see police men with blue uniforms but traffic police men with white uniform