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Ask Headmaster Ken

Police Confiscated My Passport

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Police Confiscated My Passport

Postby ziki07 » Thu Sep 13, 2012 8:43 pm

So today one of the Chinese teachers casually pulls me aside and says the police want to speak with me. In the meeting room, the man in uniform asks my name, occupation, and nationality. He then asks to see my passport (I had it on me).

I'm a U.S. citizen, 32 years old, with a legitimate Z-visa and my contract ends in a month. He shakes his head and asks where I got my visa. Confused, I explained how the school sponsored me while I was in the US, which is where I applied and received the visa. After that he says the school is not allowed to hire foreign teachers and he is keeping my passport. I am supposed to go to his office tomorrow for an interview.

I'm very nervous and even though I know I've done nothing wrong, I don't know what to expect. Surprisingly, none of the teachers at my school think this is a big deal.

Can you give me a heads up? Might I be returning home early?
ziki07
 
Posts: 6
Joined: Sun Aug 12, 2012 8:13 am

Re: Police Confiscated My Passport

Postby Headmaster Ken » Thu Sep 13, 2012 10:53 pm

Okay, first, take a deep breath.

You are just a walk-on in this drama, a pawn.

The PSB is just collecting the dirt on your employer. Some schools fraudulently use other school's licences to hire foreigners. Maybe yours did, maybe not.

Your employer will likely have to pay a 'punishment' fine. It is, I assure you, only a coincidence that the PSB is out shaking the bushes for fines just before the October holidays - as it is every holiday, every year.

All levels of police in China are shocked to discover, shocked I tell you, of administrative malfeasance uncovered on their watches just prior to every holiday. And they are deeply saddened to have to waste time collecting these huge fines just prior to taking off with their families or workmates on the holidays.

In all likelihood, you will be asked some questions and let go, sort of a pre-holiday 'catch and release' sport played by officials.

I think you have little to worry about. Based on my experience, I rather doubt you face an exit.

Happy Mid-Autumn Festival.
Headmaster Ken
 
Posts: 262
Joined: Sat Apr 11, 2009 2:37 pm

Re: Police Confiscated My Passport

Postby ziki07 » Thu Sep 13, 2012 11:01 pm

Thanks, I feel much better now. Happy holidays!
ziki07
 
Posts: 6
Joined: Sun Aug 12, 2012 8:13 am

Re: Police Confiscated My Passport

Postby ziki07 » Fri Sep 14, 2012 5:16 pm

Okay, so the exact scenario you described happened today except the police officer explained it will take a week for them to decide what my "punishment" will be (fine/deportation).

Until then they are keeping my passport. I want my passport back. Are they allowed to keep my passport? They say they are holding it until my story clears.
ziki07
 
Posts: 6
Joined: Sun Aug 12, 2012 8:13 am

Re: Police Confiscated My Passport

Postby Headmaster Ken » Fri Sep 14, 2012 8:52 pm

They certainly can hold your passport until the matter is resolved.

Again, since you did nothing wrong, it should be only the school that ends up paying any fines.

Have you spoken to the other teachers and the headmaster? What are they saying?

It still sounds like a negotiating tactic between your school and the PSB. The PSB knows fully well that teachers need passports to travel during the holidays. Holding them will put pressure on the school to 'resolve' the matter.

At this point, it is a waiting game.

You could of course call the U.S. embassy, but, in these matters, you would be as well off calling a mime troupe to assist. If the Embassy were to inquire, the PSB would simply say they are investigating the matter, as is their right.

The Embassy is a terrific, well oiled machine in consular matters such as replacing passports, etc., but they are of extremely limited use if you have an issue with the PSB. Generally, the most they can do is give you the names of a few lawyers.

Were I you, I'd just wait. My experience tells me this will resolve itself before the holidays commence.
Headmaster Ken
 
Posts: 262
Joined: Sat Apr 11, 2009 2:37 pm

Re: Police Confiscated My Passport

Postby ziki07 » Fri Sep 14, 2012 9:21 pm

Yes, that's actually the biggest problem I'm facing right now. I'm almost at the end of my contract and itching to go home. However, I have already purchased $700USD in domestic plane tickets around China: tickets I wont be able to use if I don't get my passport back before the 22nd of this month.

I still have to buy a train ticket soon. When I told the officer this he didn't tell me to cancel my flights, but suggested I buy a plane ticket rather than take the train. He also said they would try to get my passport back to me in time.

Not an expected response, especially when 10 minutes before I was being told my visa would be torn from my passport and I would be shipped back to the US next week.

All the while the people at my school are clueless and making things up as they go to cover up their mistakes, and telling me things will be fine.

So frustrating.
ziki07
 
Posts: 6
Joined: Sun Aug 12, 2012 8:13 am


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