Saturday, August 4

The Romanian Roadtrap

Squire Verstas, living in Finland emailed this recent experience of his:
We were driving the kids to the cottage on a back road somewhere near Hyvinkää when we spotted two cars parked by the side of the road, one with its hood up. One man, by appearance obviously not a Finn, noticed us and started waving wildly to get us to stop. Päivi P [his wife] started to slow down, then sped up and drove past them.

I was a little surprised at this unfriendly move on her part.

She explained that she heard there were some foreigners around waving down cars, asking to borrow the phone, then basically holding the car hostage until some junk jewelry or other contribution was offered.

Seems odd, but then I had to agree with her. There were two cars, both shouldn't be in trouble so why couldn't they use one to fetch help. They were obviously foreigners by appearance.

That was some pretty desperate waving. Something didn't seem right.

Seemingly a racist conclusion. But the final support for Päivi P's decision to keep on driving happened this week while watching Finnish news, which was reporting on Romanians who doing exactly what Päivi P described--in the Hyvinkää area.

Thanks to the EU they have every right to come to Finland and do all the various illegal tricks they want. All the organized gangs of pickpockets and beggars that are busted generally come from Romania.
Now, once you get out of Helsinki and the other 'major' cities in Finland, many roads are lightly traveled. Sometimes you can be driving for a while with no other cars in sight. Then when you do come across another driver, it is kind of like out of a Mad Max Road Warrior movie, just without the nuclear holocaust, the killing and with trees, reindeer and moose. At it's basic level, your out there on your own. Forget about the police. There might be only one police car for an entire area, and chances are that he is nowhere near you.

I then received the following message further explaining:
Thing with the Romanians is that there's all this concerns about racism here towards foreigners, but then when you look all these crimes are being committed by Russians and other foreigners.

Latest Hesari is talking about the credit card readers set up by criminals, and then it turns out to be Russians. Not surprising people get concerned about all this. There's a certain naivety with Finns about this, which is something I actually like. I don't want to be looking over my shoulder and worrying about my kids all the time. Part of the reason I'm here.

Anyway, my two cents worth.
With anything, reputations, to a certain degree, are earned. They are not totally a work of fiction. Romanians, the Roma gypsies and the Russians, as a group, have earned this criminal reputation. Having lived in Finland, I remember a regular stream of news reports about Russians being caught doing crimes. Romania was not part of the EU club at the time, so there were not many of them around, other than the times that groups of Roma gypsies from around Europe would fly in attempting to claim refugee status.

It is just like all these people being scammed by emails from people claiming to be relatives of former corrupt officials from Africa. These scams work because there are loads of corrupt officials from Africa and it is reasonable to believe that out there are a couple relatives who are having problems gaining access to their father's stolen loot. (It's just that they are NEVER going to email you.) However, as a result of all these swindled people, Nigeria has a crappy reputation. It's so bad, you wonder why they haven't just turned off internet access to the country.

The one weakness in the scam above, is what happens if the Romanians (or whoever they might happen to be) manage to stop a Russian, or even an American. They might not take lightly to this type of scam and not act like a Finn would. (Then again, they might just as well stop a car full of drunk Finns.)

Scams like this exist because of another problem. If these guys to get caught, the punishment is a joke to them. Take the case of Estonian Criminals. They go to Sweden, because if they do end up in jail, jail there is not so bad. Not like in Estonia.

No comments: