relatively cheap criminal record.
April 11, 2010
those of you who know me – which i assume is all six of you - know that i am the last person who would ever, EVER, commit a crime. ok, ive done a few illegal things: drive too fast in a school zone, throw eggs at teenagers (its not as mean as it sounds. we had rules: no one who looks nice. and no one on wheels), work in a foreign country without a visa, smoke weed (twice. only to learn that it makes my ears way too hot and my brain way too slow), bribe a cop with a cheeseburger, run a stop sign, drive without insurance (unknowingly, but still.. illegally), and thats it. actually, that list is a little bit longer than i expected it to be; but regardless, i have never, EVER, stolen anything. well… ok, once i took a twenty five cent sticker book from the salvation army when my mom wouldnt buy it for me. but it was just once. and it was a long time ago. and i had been in there for six hours looking at ‘antiques’. and i returned it along with an apology note the next day. so it doesnt count, right?
speaking of my mom… MOM – STOP READING. reading this is only going to make you worry a little bit more and love me a little bit less. i will write you an upbeat email in a moment to keep you occupied. if by chance you continue reading after this warning… im making it all up. to anyone else that started reading this (unless you are extremely bored or abnormally keen on reading long, pointless, and poorly written blogs) – i would probably advise you to stop reading as well.
but, ten hours in prison, six hours in court, and seventy two hong kong dollars later… this is the story of the most expensive mini toblerone bar i never got the chance to eat.
chapter one. the crime —- so there i was… in the pre-easter spirit… deciding between white chocolate and milk chocolate toblerone bars. inconveniently my phone rang. normally i would ignore it, but my ring tone is so obnoxious i had no choice but to dig through my unorganized bag to find it. i stepped outside… RIGHT outside… the door of the shoebox sized seven eleven to talk for approximately thirty seconds. i walked back inside with the chocolate bars in one hand and my money in the other; proceeded to the cashier and tried to pay. quickly an old, ignorant, un-hygenic, mean, power tripping employee grabbed my arm and pulled me to the back of the store while she screamed ‘police, police, police’ in a disturbingly irritating accent. i wasnt worried. i figured as soon as an officer arrived from the police station next door i would explain what had happened, pay for the chocolate, and be on my way.
i have never been more wrong.
chapter two. the imprisonment —- i was arrested. me… arrested. at this point i started to cry uncontrollably. im not sure if it was due to the situation or the smell of urine in the police vehicle (i am still unsure why we drove considering the station is literally right next door, but i thought this in itself was punishment enough). regardless, my tears and pleads of innocence had no effect on anyone. none the less, i was still hopeful that once someone who spoke english came to talk to me everything would be resolved. unfortunately, that never happened. i was put in a prison cell and left alone for two hours. at first i was crying. then i was sleeping. and then i was begging to go to the washroom. then i was escorted to the washroom by two officers and decided it was better to hold it then to risk going anywhere near the revolting and fully exposed metal bucket they called the toilet.
next was the only entertaining part of my day. the mug shot. i have had my photo taken so many times i can not help but make a slight pose when i spot a camera. at this point they had figured out i was a model, so when they counted down from three and i naturally put my hand on my hip and flashed a smile, they couldnt help but laugh. a bonding experience i thought. after i managed to hold still for the first shot they instructed me to look to the side. of course, to show off my full profile… i held up my hair. to me, this is still funny. to them, it was one more reason to barbarically scream in my face in a language i dont care to understand.
finally the english speaking detective arrived from the seven eleven to take my statement. i frantically explained what had happened… and his response was, word for word, ‘im sorry, my english is poor, i can not comprehend what you are saying’. ok, mr detective, if you can speak english well enough to inform me you can not comprehend what im telling you… you can unquestionably understand me, you just dont want to. i asked him what the cashier had said in her statement. this was it (translated of course): ‘she had two chocolates and went outside without paying to talk on her cell phone. she came back inside and said ‘sorry, please…can i pay’ then i called police’. let me tell you… i must be the stupidest and most polite criminal in hong kong. i said sorry and please, and offered to pay for the goods i was trying to steal.
and let me just mention, that if i was going to steal something… you can bet it would be worth more than a dollar… and that i wouldnt be dumb enough to continue standing two feet away from the store entrance with money in my hand waiting to be arrested. ive always been a fan of the worlds dumbest criminals show… but ive never aspired to be on it.
so, i gave my statement. which was EXACTLY the same as the employees. and then asked ‘so, its the same, whats the problem? can i go?’. NOPE…. i couldnt.
i was then searched by two cops. as if they were going to find a third chocolate bar underneath my skin tight tank top. of course… they didnt. two more cops then joined them and escorted me to my apartment to conduct a search. when we arrived a) i think they were shocked that the apartment i live in with six girls and a ghost is smaller than my prison cell. and b) realized that, in the mess i call home, they would struggle to find a matching pair of shoes, little lone anything incriminating.
back to prison.
again, two hours go by without anyone acknowledging my existence. and then the detective comes back to question me. or at least pretend he is questioning me. he wrote down a list of questions, never asked them, but wrote down answers he thought made sense and asked me to sign the pages. at this point i was too exhausted and hungry to care or pay attention to what he wrote down. i did, however, note that one of the questions was if i would like any food or water. my apparent response – not necessary.
back in the cell.
a few more hours go by, im not sure how many (because they confiscated my phone for evidence), but it seemed like at least fourty five. finally i got the attention of an officer to ask what was going on and if i was going to get to go home. he told me i would have to stay over night and go to court in the morning. oh joy. thankfully, this wasnt the case. lucky for me i could be released on bail… of five hundred hong kong dollars. funny, because they knew after searching my purse that i only had seventy two. after a bit of persuasion and a few more tears they decided to reduce the bail… to seventy two dollars. i asked if i could keep two dollars for the tram home… they said no. why? because seventy two dollars is the standard bail amount. CRAZY that it just happened to be the exact amount i had. my lucky day i suppose.
i went home and was instructed to appear in court three days later.
**apparently im writing a novel not a blog. im going to divide it into chapters now.
chapter three. the court appearance — i arrive at nine (because i am compulsively early and decided thirty minutes of pre -court preparation seemed reasonable). by nine thirty i am surrounded by a court room of stereotypical criminals. they might be innocent, but a word of advice: if youre appearing in court for theft… maybe dont wear the bandana and fake diamond earings you allegedly stole the week prior. i was so out of place i was mistaken for a lawyer three times.
after an hour or so i was sent upstairs to speak with a duty lawyer. i explained the situation to him and he told me i was innocent because i did not intend to commit a crime. NO KIDDING. i asked what the procedure would be if i plead innocent. he told me that most likely i would wait a few months, pay a few hundred dollars in lawyer fees, give up my passport, and then appear back in court on the designated day. fantastic. i then asked what would happen if i plead guilty (because pleading innocent seems incredibly time consuming). he said there was three realistic possibilities: imprisonment, a fine, or deportation. even more fantastic….
feeling like a risk taker… i changed my plea to guilty and took my chances. four hours later it was my turn. heart pounding, tears flowing, i explained to the judge what happened. she said ‘then your innocent’. i said ‘yeah, i know’. we then argued for a while about why i was trying to plea guilty when i clearly wasnt. i explained that i didnt want the inconvenience of process. she got offended and said that if my story was true i had to plea innocent. so, i leaned towards to microphone and muttered… ‘ok, i stole chocolate, and i meant to. im sorry,it was a moment of weakness… i wont do it again’. i guess we can now add lying under oath to my list of illegal activities.
she fined me five hundred hong kong dollars. i had four hundred ninety eight dollars, and sixty cents. she was furious. i was worried i would have to go to jail because i couldnt afford the fine. but finally after she let me dig through my purse for a few more minutes she screamed ‘you know, model girl, i wish i could just give you the money… but i cant. you are wasting my time and this courts time. i will reduce the fine to the seventy two dollars you have already paid and order you to leave my court room’. i was ecstatic, but still cried a little bit more just because i cant handle people yelling at me.
the record now states (summarized… because im too lazy to search through the dirty laundry, dirty dishes, and overflowing ashtrays in my apartment to find the documents): sophia nicole cottini was arrested and detained in [name of filthy prison] for theft of two chocolate bars, property of seven eleven – totaling a value of twelve hong kong dollars. she was found guilty by [bitter and threatening judges name] and ordered to pay a fine of seventy two hong kong dollars before being released.
seventy two hong kong dollars is the equivalent of nine canadian dollars. and the twelve dollars worth of chocolate i ‘stole’ … one dollar and fifty five cents – thats a relatively cheap criminal record if you ask me.