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

by Johnny Ward

Guide book – no, local currency – no, map – no, knowledge of the language – no, accommodation booked – no, injections – no… 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 and getting scolded by the ‘restaurant owner’, we were handed a life-life – a Bangladeshi draped proudly in an England football shirt came bounding over to welcome us to his country in English (a rare talent in Bangladesh, and my Bengali was a little lacking), and then later that evening, to his house.

 

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

Anyway, 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 had some tea and then went back to the lobby of our hotel. There, we chatted with Raul and his friend who happens to be a female. We chatted for 30 minutes or so, 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 went to sleep around 11am, and I was in a deep slumber until I was awoken by the most aggressive pummelling of my hotel room door. “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 loud Bangladeshi guy burst through the door, followed by 3 of his big, burly friends! 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 went and dragged the hotel manager up to translate.

 

“You are with a brown girl, tonight, with a brown, Bangladeshi girl – where is she!?”

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

“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 proceded 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 imformed 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!

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

  1. 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. Ps add me on fb if you would like to get to know more details sidratul.amin@gmail.com or call +88 01711182357

    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
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. 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 :P

      Reply
  6. 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
  7. 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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  9. 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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