The Night I Nearly Got Arrested in Bangladesh for NOT having sex with a (non) Prostitute

Guide book? Nope. Local currency? Nope. Map? Nope. Knowledge of the language? Nope. Accommodation booked? Nope. Injections? Nope. Health Insurance? Nope

This was my check list as I flew from Bangkok To Dhaka, Bangladesh’s underdeveloped capital. To say I was unprepared would be a bit of an understatement, but it all works out in the end, right? Hmmm…

Hotel in Dhaka

My hotel in Old Dhaka

After a long day trekking around Dhaka where my first memory was eating curry with my wrong hand (the left one) and getting scolded by the restaurant owner, we were handed a life-line.  A Bangladeshi draped proudly in an England football shirt came bounding over to me to welcome us to his country,  in pretty decent English. We chatted a little and before long we were invited to his house that evening to have dinner with his family.

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After having dinner with his extended family, he insisted on walking us back to our hotel. Thanks to my serious lack of preparation for this trip, we had ended up staying in a hotel in ‘Old Dhaka’, where running water and electricity were at a real premium. Air-con had yet to be introduced to Old Dhaka and the 40 degree heat was overbearing.

Hotel in Dhaka

The corridor in my hotel

The next morning, Raul (our Bangladeshi friend) called one of his friends to meet us. He took great pride in being new friends with seemingly the only white people in Dhaka (certainly in Old Dhaka). We spent the afternoon exploring together, and as the evening came we  all had some tea together and then went back to the lobby of our hotel.

This is where things went wrong. As we went back to the lobby Raul’s friend called another friend to join us, all very innocent and he was keen to show people he had some foreigner friends. My 2 buddies and me, alone with Raul’s two friends, one of whom was female, all sat downstairs and chatted for an hour or so. Chatting about travels, about Bangladesh, about their families, really interesting evening. We were really tired from the heat though so we soon told him we’d meet for lunch the next day and headed up stairs to our room, dodging rats and cockroaches quite successfully on the way.

Accommodation in Dhaka

My luxury room – before it was raided by the secret police

I was asleep as soon as my head the pillow around 11pm. I was in a deep slumber until I was awoken by the most aggressive pummelling of my hotel room door.

BANG BANG BANG BANG. “WTF is that, what time is it, 4am”?!!?

I jumped up, pulled some clothes on and tentatively opened the door to my room when a huge Bangladeshi guy burst through the door, before I could even open it fully, 3 of his big, burly friends soon followed, bullet-proof vests on, guns cocked and ready to go! Flash lights in our face, shouting in a language I knew nothing of. This was not good….

 

After a few words were exchanged, nothing was understood and I was pretty terrified. One of the guys with a Government badge left the room while the others stood watch over me and my 2 friends. The guy who left went to wake up the hotel manager and dragged him in to translate.

 

“You are with a brown girl, tonight, with a brown, Bangladeshi girl – where is she!?” The police man is translated as saying

“Huh?! It’s our mate’s mate, what’s going on” I respond

“You’re having sex with a prostitute, it’s illegal. Why you do this in my hotel?!” 

“What are you talking about? We shared a coffee left”

“You lie, you lie, this is big problem in Bangladesh, big money”

 

They proceeded to search our room again – cartoon style. Looking under the bed, then in the cupboards, then under the sheet on the bed (I think you would have noticed the her under that mate – genius). They then informed us that if they find her we will go to prison and have to pay a fine. “How much?” I asked. “If she’s beautiful, very much. If she’s not so beautiful and fat, not so much”. Ok, good to see the justice system is working nice and fairly then.

 

After another couple of minutes they realized she wasn’t in our room (good work Sherlock), they apologized and left within 20 seconds, leaving me and my mates to go back to bed very thankful she wasn’t there, and wondering about what the rest of our time in Bangladesh will entail! Quite the start to my travels.

76 thoughts on “The Night I Nearly Got Arrested in Bangladesh for NOT having sex with a (non) Prostitute

  1. Munna Khan

    Every metro city have some unsafe area where you shouldn’t be at night. It hard to believe you’re traveling the world! you should have some common sense to avoid vulnerable part of a big city at the wrong time! There is hundreds of good accommodation around the city.

    I’m sorry you had this experience in my country but surely you’re the responsible for this incident. People of Bangladesh treat foreigners as guest.

    Reply
  2. john cena

    the man who invited u for dinner because he wants money from u guys.. and what was the payment of ur hotel? and u should stay in good places example dhanmondi,uttara,etc. and u stayed in a old hotel u should take details from net before visiting bangladesh..

    Reply
  3. Anan Faiyaz

    umm, seeing the photos, you availed a very poor representative. Not talking about money, but their standard of living. That family of your guide seems to be living in a slum in the picture. You should’ve prepped more mate @_@

    Reply
  4. Sharif Ahmad Shabbir

    Hello Johnny, sorry to hear about your unfortunate experience in Dhaka. I would like to point out 2 things. The temperature in Dhaka never rises to 40 degrees, it is around 35 degrees at max, since the weather is more humid, it feels more hot in Dhaka. And finding English speaking Bangladeshis in Dhaka is not a rare thing, thousands of Bangladeshi students study the Cambridge and Edexcel curriculum and sit for O & A level exams under British Council Bangladesh. I am a Bangladeshi and I can speak English, in fact I have studied in English all my life, the first letter I learned in my life were ABC just like any other native English speaking child because I went to an English school.

    Anyways, staying in Old Dhaka is not a good option for foreigners because it is called Old Dhaka for a reason. After visiting Old Dhaka, you should have headed back to “new” Dhaka [such as Gulshan-Banani and adjacent areas] where some limited foreigner-friendly accomodation are available on a budget.

    In the end, I would like to thank you for taking your time to visit my motherland, Bangladesh, dhonnobaad [thank you in Bangla]!

    Sharif Ahmad Shabbir
    from Uttara, Dhaka [15 minutes away from Dhaka airport]

    Reply
  5. Gogo

    I can’t stop laughing after reading.I just started eating a plum & it fell out of my mouth.Still u went through less dan what my friends did.Bengalis r such a dirty & shitty race.& so freaking ignorant.My friend who’s a girl almost got raped by police when she sought help from dem bcoz some Bengali men were molesting her .

    Reply
    1. shadman

      Hey man,if u are brave enough come to Bangladesh and say what u are saying now.I can promise u that it will be ur last word.

      Reply
  6. Rizreaz

    Johnny my man got Facebook or anyother chat oriented client? Looking forward to talk to you. I’m a fellow Bangladeshi. To be honest, you should’nt have came into the country of corruption and dirtiest politics.

    Reply
  7. Ninja Robot

    ok hi! I am a resident of Dhaka city, and rule number one is never trust anyone. This place is like Gotham city. How long are you going to stay here?

    Reply
  8. Lost love

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    Reply
  9. Bangladeshi

    What’s the fucking hell you are! Why you went to the poor hotel? And then write a false story about my country. Fuck you.

    Are you a begger?

    Reply
        1. Towhid Zaman

          By the way, have someone local next time. There’s so many places you could visit and remember all your life. I think most of us would be happy to help no string attached.

          Reply
      1. jahid

        you just wanted to make dirty jokes about Bangladeshi. that’s why you went old Dhaka’s dirty hotel. i also thinking that you may write completely a false story to make just a dirty fun with Bangladeshis.

        Reply
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  11. Sid

    dude, u really have no clue as to how much shit u could have gotten yourself in? I am a bangladeshi national who has lived abroad for more than 15 years and during this time i have travalled to the victoria falls in zimbabwe,lived in zambia witnesseing a total eclipse of the sun, watched where the pacific and the antartic ocean meet in southern most africa, been to game parks in kenya, partyed in LA and NYC and chilled in Dubai, i currently reside in Dhaka and I must invite u properly coz u totally have awrong impression of our country and I hate to say it but people who read your blog would get a negative image of my country. You must have a local who knows the ins and outs, I mean come n mate, we have all the major food and hotel chains so why in the world would you choose to stay at a shanty run down hotel? If its adventureu r looking for my friend, it would be my pleasure (no strings attached) to represent my city and I guarantee u a trip to remenescence.

    Reply
    1. Sid

      oh and FYI mate, my sister is in the UK right now and she will be returning to Bangladesh later this month so if you are interested, I can send you her details so you can have a more memorable trip next time around

      Reply
      1. Genius

        Hi
        I am planning to visit bangla. Can u arrange for counter with your sister. I didn’t get complete meaning of enjoy next time

        Reply
      2. tamtam

        In july i visit dhaka. I stay 3 weeks. the cheapest ticket i find is 1000 us. So i have to plan my budget a bit seriously. How much money i need just to appreciate bangladesh culture and nature in three weeks. Thanks.

        Reply
    2. Munim

      thanks dude for doing this… im a bangladeshi too. that guy totally had a wrong perception abt our country :S

      Reply
  12. Dave

    That place you stayed in is a brothel. A lot of shitty hotels are actually brothels. That is why the cops expected to find you with a girl when they raided the place. (if they were really cops – were they wearing green shirts?)

    Fat girls is a Kulna thing, and something for the provinces. They aren’t considered beautiful all over the country.

    Reply
  13. van

    First time reading your blog..and all I can say is you’re awesome..this experience as well is insanely funny..though I won’t think like that if I’m on the actual scenario..

    Reply
  14. Shahrukh

    Hi There

    I feel sorry to hear about your terrible experience. Let me give you some advices about dhaka. Do not choose any hotel located in old dhaka, even we locals wont stay there. There are plenty of luxarious (very much affordabe) hotels in Gulshan, Banani, Baridhara and Uttara where you can have all the facilities that you can think off. Our corrupted stupid police do that shit when they think that they can walk away with some money. I am sure they go to those hotel to have sex on a regular basis.

    Reply
  15. TJ

    Hey man..your experience in dhaka was hilarious but exiting indeed. I am from Bangladesh and its really a shame on how you were treated by a local when you were a tourist in our country. No wonder foreign tourists often see the cruel and dark part of the city and thugs like your friend Raul are common on the streets. However, dhaka has a different picture at the other side, international brands, Bistros, coffee parlours and restaurants are a common picture, and some of them are more expensive than you can imagine. And what’s weirder (!) the people knows english, sometimes even better than an American. I know because i have some foreign national friends and they get along very well, although we do not explore old dhaka together!. Next time you come to the country, don’t trust a stranger.
    Cheers.

    Reply
    1. Johnny Post author

      hey TJ, i was staying in old Dhaka mate, it was such a cool experience – i’m keen to come back, maybe i’ll sample the wealthier side next time 😛

      Reply
  16. chris

    that seems a bit wierd given that prostitution is leagal in Bangldash
    and fat chicks and considered beautiful from what I’v read. I think
    it probly was a Police scam.

    Reply
  17. Ahnad

    Hey I live in Dhaka and Im staying in a 3 star hotel and its gud..
    Ur not going to have a luxury suite if u pay 10 Euro(I think 150 will do) only so my advice live in a decent place like me.And nice story but I dont think its true.

    Reply
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  19. Natalia

    OMG! Hilarious!-now-
    Getting in this type of situation while traveling is horrible. I got stopped by the police in the US several years ago -in the burbs!!-… I was trembling when the two officers made me stand in front of the car, my hands on sight while they searched inside. A good story to tell now, terrifying back then.
    Good Luck!

    Reply
    1. Johnny Post author

      ooooh no, that sounds horrible :S alls well that ends well tho i guess, right?! :S great story, thanks for sharing Natalie 🙂

      Reply
      1. Mishu

        mate i think you stayed in a “red marked” hotel. bangladeshi police are often clueless and thats the truth. my advice is to stay in such area, where prostitution is less. and don’t get out after 12 at night. it’s not safe for us bangladeshies. imagine what will happend to you then :). the best option is to say at a friends house. love from Bangladesh.

        Reply
          1. Mithun

            You should get a Bangladeshi friend who is involved with adventures. There are a few facebook pages regarding traveling around the country. Professional/non professional members travels around shares their experiences. The reason i am telling you this is because even though Bangladesh has ample opportunities and numerous places to make it a favorite place for the tourists, it still is not as tourist friendly as it needs to be. Living in/touring a developing country is difficult for any tourist, but it will be a great experience if you have acquaintances (along with you or guiding you over phone). So, start making friends before you visit again !

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