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Urgent legal advice is needed! Please help!

Hello everyone, I am in desperate need of advice, mostly because I do not know how things work in China:

You see, last night just after I was about to get off a taxi and I open the door, another car (a private one) came from behind, passing right by us, hitting and bending the door. Obviously both cars where damaged in the process, but luckily no one was injured.

Now I decided to stay and wait for the police, mostly because in my opinion it was the other drivers fault and I thought that maybe the taxi driver needed my help testifying against the other people. After all, it was the other car that passed fast a close enough -on a no speed area- to almost rip off the taxi's door.

Now to my surprise, after waiting two hours for the traffic police and insurance company, they some how decided that this was the taxis drivers fault, without hearing to what I had to say, almost paying me no attention at all.

Suddenly the taxi driver decides that I am partially responsible for the damage and asks me to pay up. Of course I was outraged! I had only waited there, because I was thinking that I was helping him. So I told him that I was student that I had no money and even if I had I was not going to pay and that if he had any business with me he could call my university's foreign student's office, and I left.

Now I am a little worried, mostly because I do not what kind of problems to expect in the future.

The taxi driver called me twice at 4 AM, and I fear this might be the start of some sort of extortion campaign on his behalf, or even worst that he might seek retaliation of some sort.

What should I do? Has any one of you ever had a similar experience? What should I watch out for?

Thanks in advanced!

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Comment by Jacklyn F on July 3, 2012 at 23:33

uhmm u should probably change ur number in case of future harassing phonecalls

Comment by Fernando on July 3, 2012 at 23:27

Follow Up:

Dear Friends, its been nearly a week and I have not heard any thing from the taxi driver. A friend of mine of Chinese-American origin, who's been living here for almost a decade told me that since no real authority figure paid me no attention at all, that the taxi driver has no real hold over me. Besides  in his own words: "We [foreigners] look alike to all of them and he [the taxi driver] has no real way to know to truly remember who was in the accident " 

So  all political-correctness aside, I am starting to think that he is right. I don't plan to drop my guard just yet, but by the looks of it I just might get lucky this time...

Thank you all for your concern. I Shall inform you in case something else happens. :)

Comment by Fernando on June 28, 2012 at 18:30

Thanks every one, but sadly I do not live in CC. I live in Jilin City... :(

Comment by Tsatsa on June 28, 2012 at 13:03
Which campus of Jida are you on? I know that the teachers of the foriegn students' office of the Jida south campus (in the friendship hote) are very helpful and have helped out many students in similar situations before. It is their job to look out for students and be the sort of resourceful bridge in situations exactly like this - involving different cultures, laws, etc. Plus I know that 2 years ago, after a foriegn student got badly injured just outside the international dorm, the office is focusing extra attention on the well-being of foriegn students.
Comment by Richard ridealgh on June 28, 2012 at 12:33

once your side of the story is in, then ignore the phone calls. Then if this guy does chase you down then its clear the driver has already bribed the taxi driver to go after you!

Comment by Richard ridealgh on June 28, 2012 at 12:32

totally agree with Kim on this! Good call Kim! get your side of the story in first. But like kim said, how reliable are the foreign affairs office in JiDa.

Comment by CCF Beijing on June 28, 2012 at 12:30

I agree with some of the others about "helping".


This should give you an idea of how "help is not needed/ resented".

I felt like "helping" during the Sichuan Earthquake.

Students were NOT ALLOWED to go to my "event" that I organized.

My blood was NOT accepted at the Red Cross (said they didn't need

O positive that day). 

Comment by CCF Beijing on June 28, 2012 at 12:24

I wouldn't pay a dime.

What nationality are you? Have you called your consulate? ANYTIME and for ANY MATTER, I am on the phone with the U.S. Consulate (and been to their office many times...)

Comment by Kim Tonkin on June 28, 2012 at 12:19

How reliable is your school foreign affairs person? Maybe you should talk to him / her about this, they'd probably know how best to deal with it. Also, if the driver goes to your school his version of the accident could be a lot different to how it really happened so it may be a good idea to tell your side of the story first.

Comment by Fernando on June 28, 2012 at 12:14

Oh boy!, too naive to wait for a traffic officer and help the taxi driver. Anyways no point on crying over spilt milk now.

I realize that now... In China it is everyone for themselves... Trust me, in the future I shall not forget this lesson.

Did you give them any other details about yourself other than a phone number?
And is your phone number registered at a china mobile/Unicom office, or just a number off the street? If its the latter, and they don't have your address then disappear(change your number immediately).

Luckily, no one asked for my personal information, nor I did give it to any one. Sadly the accident happened just in front of my university. So he might have a lead on where to find me...

Now, the phone number I have does not belong to me. It is not registered any where, But I can not change it because that is the number I have used "officially" for may things, the bank, the embassy, etc...

In any case keep us up to date on your situation.

Thank you Ferney, I shall do exactly that!

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