Don't carry cash when exiting Tajikistan via airport

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Christian77
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Don't carry cash when exiting Tajikistan via airport

Post by Christian77 »

The Dushanbe airport exit customs have returned to their 2009 mode of operations. This week a Japanese traveller was robbed of $100 of the $1000 in cash he was carrying. Story via Facebook

When I exit I have the bare minimum in cash. The most common scam is to say that it is illegal to leave the country with the local currency, the Somoni. That's not true. And there is obviously no law that says you get fined $100 for travelling with $1000.

To note, this traveller is Asian. Tajik law enforcement and customs like to target Asians (all of Asia, including south Asia). Why? Racism, plus the fact that Dutch, German and etcetera travellers will put up a serious fight that is not worth it from the perspective of the "thieves in uniforms."
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aeronought
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Re: Don't carry cash when exiting Tajikistan via airport

Post by aeronought »

Thanks for this, Christian77. Good to know.

My friend left Tajikistan via Dushanbe airport recently. He is originally from the Philippines but was travelling on a New Zealand passport and encountered a similar situation. Below is an extract of the text he sent me after running the gauntlet of corrupt officials:

First, I was pulled into a room and they checked my small backpack and asked me to show my cash which I only have $70 left.

Second was during security check asking for money for "coffee break" and asking me to put somoni under my jacket during the scan.

And last was final security check where they held on to my watch suggesting that I give money for "coffee break".

I feigned that I cannot understand the language and Russian and kept on smiling. They weren’t rude but were trying
”.

Thought it would be useful to add this so people are aware of the various guises these tricks take!
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Christian77
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Re: Don't carry cash when exiting Tajikistan via airport

Post by Christian77 »

That's funny. A few years ago they took me to a back room out of view and asked me for money for coffee also. $5 to be precise, which seems expensive for the instant coffee on brew (and these guys don't drink coffee). It was more like dealing with beggars than some of the bad stories from the same place. I guess I look broke.
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Alibobo
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Re: Don't carry cash when exiting Tajikistan via airport

Post by Alibobo »

Please be aware that these guys probably makes 50usd/month

Imagine yourself seeing tons of "wealthy" people on a daily basis..won t you try to get something out of them? I know I would if i was in there position.

Another thought. Will 5bucks (or equivalent) extra will make a difference for you ? For them it will probably...
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aeronought
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Re: Don't carry cash when exiting Tajikistan via airport

Post by aeronought »

Alibobo wrote:
Wed Mar 01, 2023 6:16 am
Please be aware that these guys probably makes 50usd/month

Imagine yourself seeing tons of "wealthy" people on a daily basis..won t you try to get something out of them? I know I would if i was in there position.

Another thought. Will 5bucks (or equivalent) extra will make a difference for you ? For them it will probably...
There are multiple reasons that I would disagree with this post.

No, $5 is not going to make a huge difference to me. But as per my first post, my friend was asked for “coffee money” / a bribe / implicit theft of property at three separate points during one trip through the airport. If you encourage the corrupt behaviour of one security guard, there is a chance it encourages that behaviour with some of their colleagues (because of course not everyone is corrupt). However, it could add up to more than just the $5.

It also perpetuates the problem for other travellers who may not genuinely be able to spare whatever the size of the bribe these officials look for on a particular day. Just because it’s $5 for me, doesn’t mean they won’t try and take $100 from someone else.

Furthermore, if the argument is that these officials are underpaid, why should anyone subsidise them in the form of a bribe? It deflects the problem from being one for the government to a problem for visitors and locals alike (because it’s not just tourists who are targeted by corrupt officials). This is convenient for the government who have been happy enough to enrich themselves at their countrymen’s expense.

Corruption is corruption regardless of where you are in the world. While it may not impact my decision to visit a country, it may prevent others from visiting and spending their money there. In the long run, corruption only benefits the small few who practice it, not the wider population. Giving $5 is not an act of charity, it’s ensuring that this will be a problem for future visitors and locals.
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Kalpazan
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Re: Don't carry cash when exiting Tajikistan via airport

Post by Kalpazan »

Christian77 wrote:
Wed Mar 01, 2023 4:32 am
That's funny. A few years ago they took me to a back room out of view and asked me for money for coffee also. $5 to be precise, which seems expensive for the instant coffee on brew (and these guys don't drink coffee). It was more like dealing with beggars than some of the bad stories from the same place. I guess I look broke.
And ? Did you give the poor fellas 5 bucks or not ? :roll:
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Christian77
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Re: Don't carry cash when exiting Tajikistan via airport

Post by Christian77 »

I "gave" them my leftover Somoni (I forget how much, but probably close to $5 worth). To be clear, despite the guy above acting like this is some sort of justice reparation for global capitalism, it was stated that I "maybe will miss the flight" if I don't pay. I paid about $1000 for that one-way flight. That emptied what remained in my bank account.
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Kalpazan
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Re: Don't carry cash when exiting Tajikistan via airport

Post by Kalpazan »

I had a situation at Osh airport where a customs officer took me for a hand baggage inspection and started explaining that I can't have two battery packs with me on board and I am in big trouble for this but he will close his eyes if I agree to take small package for a relative of him in Moscow. Knowing what these packages usually contain I firmly denied and he just left me sitting alone in the room and went away. After some time another officer came and told me to move to the boarding area.
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Patchy
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Re: Don't carry cash when exiting Tajikistan via airport

Post by Patchy »

Just passed through Dushanbe immigration today when leaving the country. Before I got to the passport counter, I was asked how much money I had by some official. Having just read this forum I showed him only the 5.5 somoni in my wallet. He asked if I had dollars. I said yes but gave vague answers and asked why. He said there is a customs limit of $3000. I said I have less than that and he let me go without further questions. I was unsure whether the limit is true or not, but I did have less so I guess there would have been no issues if it wasn't a scam.
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