Driving to Airport? Beware of Fake LEA

‘Where are you coming from saab?’ asked the radio cab employee very casually as he carried my luggage to the cab I had hired to go home from the airport after arriving back in the city following a four day trip abroad. Feeling uncomfortable in the early morning cold weather, I replied him tersely: ‘Dhaka’. It was only after I was heading home in the taxi that I realized that it was not very intelligent of me to have provided this information to the person. I had heard a few stories of passengers being stopped during the wee hours of the day and early morning and being looted of their valuables with clear connection of porters and cab companies staff being involved in the rackets.

I was lucky to make it safely to the home without meeting such a fate. However, a close friend of mine was not that lucky. He was driving to the airport in the early morning and was robbed off his black berry, cash, wrist watch and some other valuable documents by a group of people who were dressed up in something that mimicked the uniforms of Rangers. A recent story I read elsewhere had a similar account where a lady coming from the airport was stopped and looted of her valuables by a car with a blue emergency light atop giving the interceptors some kind of a law enforcement agency’s look.

Seems like we all need to be careful while traveling towards airport and make sure we do not feel obliged to stop at every LEA lookalike unless it is absolutely clear that they are genuine.

11 Comments so far

  1. balma (unregistered) on January 30th, 2008 @ 11:45 pm

    The best khaanchaa was during Benazir’s first govt. Many of you guys weren’t born around then, it seems from some postings.

    People were robbed enmass. At their homes after arriving from the US. Apparently Airport’s security force, together with immigration staff, provided to daakoos the addresses of people arriving at Karachi airport from foreign countries.

    Balma is on record for suggesting on the Internet (very few people had internet in those days, but still) in those days to travelers to Karachi to provide incomplete addresses (read wrong or non existing addresses) to the criminals in immigration and airport security force.

  2. Kashif (unregistered) on January 31st, 2008 @ 12:06 am

    The looters have their touts spread inside airport. They look-out for people coming from US/Europe destinations normally as well as people who are showing-off too much. Sometimes travelers from ME also got hit. A relative, coming from ME, with his family was robbed in wee hours of day, just outside their home. They were followed from airport till their place in a brand new corolla, number plate covered by plastic.

    Its best not to leave airport very early or very late and do not tell complete address to the cabbies.

  3. NRP (unregistered) on January 31st, 2008 @ 1:07 am

    thanx for the valuable info…
    where our country is headed is a scary question….

    whenever i use khi airport..i never leave during the early hours of the day… once i waited 3 hours till morning….
    Allah in logon ko insahALLAH zindagi mein hi dikha dega what they deserve…but with so many people doing this…. there wont be any people on karachis streets if all of em were put to jail…

  4. SQ (unregistered) on January 31st, 2008 @ 1:26 am

    The airport should start selling .. naah forget it.

    Since it’s widely available, people flying in from overseas should carry a can or two of pepper spray with them.

    Hold steady, spray and as soon as the prick is bent over, a lightning fast ghutna on the nose!

  5. Concerned (unregistered) on January 31st, 2008 @ 1:33 am

    I have been travelling to Khi every 3-4 months for 5 years now. And I always like to arive at 4 in the night as you get to utilise the next day as well.

    I have never been robbed mainly because I take the precaution of calling someone to pick me up and if I do travel by taxi I make sure that we take a main road home even if its out of the way.

    Also always sit in front with the driver so you can guide him incase of emergency and always chage your route if you feel there is someone behind you.

    Andhoon ki tarah chalo gay, tu thokar tu lagay gi na.

  6. temporal (unregistered) on January 31st, 2008 @ 2:28 am


    this is useful info for me

  7. AMMAR (unregistered) on January 31st, 2008 @ 2:49 am

    Yes it really sad to see people are looted especialy coming to home sweet home. Concerned suggestions are valid and one has to be very careful. I am really surprised to know all of this. I have been travelling to and from Karachi mostly to international destinations and my travel is very frequent, but never faced such things. I must be careful as well. Thanks Tee Emm for such a wonderful travel advisory.

  8. ShahidnUSA (unregistered) on January 31st, 2008 @ 6:04 am

    Again, SECURITY should be the top priority of the local authority (whoever it is)
    IF NOT, it will bring down (crash) the economy of the city like you would not believe.

  9. d0ct0r (unregistered) on January 31st, 2008 @ 7:26 pm

    as concerned noted it is advisable to call up your friend/family or any one close to come and pick u up from the airport if you’re arriving alone at wee hours of the morning. recently a friend and his mom were coming back from UK,took a cab from airport,on they way they were intercepted by thugs who stole their valuables.friend suspected that cab driver was involved,so once they reached home he dropped is mom,he along with his two elder bros decided to report using the same cab,but the driver was reluctant to take them to Police station,they somehow convinced him and went to PS and reported the incident,driver was given a severe thrashing("drawing room" of PS), initially he denied anything and insisted that he is willing to compensate the monetary loss they suffered but he is not involved..later he did accepted his involvement but others were not busted..

    i myself also lost my passport once though not in a cab but inside the international arival lounge at conveyor belt while waiting for my luggage..normally at international airports CCTVs are noticeable covering conveyor belt from every possible angle but here you’ll hardly notice a single camera and that too pointed away from conveyor belt…

    Luggage thefts at Quaid e Azam International. covered by kmb back in august 07

  10. ali-en (unregistered) on February 1st, 2008 @ 1:24 am

    This is what to do in case you’re stuck in a situation such as the one encountered by TM’s buddy:

    1.) Turn on your cellphone and start talking without giving the cabbie time to pull out a gun

    2.) Make the conversation go something like this:

    "Jee bhai, charon kay arrival ka intezam kar diya hai?"

    "Haan haan, koi masla nahin, UK/USA/Dubai ki authorities ko nimat chuka hoon"

    "To phir kahan mulaqaat karein"

    "Jee jee main bas ghar hi pohonch raha tha"

    "Chaley theek hai bhai, bus thori publicity neechay rakhna, jald milaingay, Khuda hafiz"

    3.) Sound bold and confident (not afraid) but don’t be so extravagant that the cabbie sees through your plan

  11. balma (unregistered) on February 1st, 2008 @ 2:08 am

    Other thing to do is to call someone or pretend to call someone before getting in the cab, but after noting down the number plate etc, and tell the person on the line that you are getting in such and such (company’s) cab, and this is the number plate. If the cab driver hears this, he might be deterred from alerting his buddies for robbing you. Also, tell him aboslutely no phone calls or text messaging by him and no high-beam flashes. Cabies used to do this high-beam thing on Rashid Minhas Road near Drive-In cinema in 90s….before all this apt growth on Rashid Minhas. Can’t believe this population growth. We need to increase marriage age, and put limit on number of kids : just two. Stop Balma: before you get carried away and go off tangent.

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