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Saturday 15 February 2020

Traveller beware. When patting someone's back can send you to jail.

UPDATE: This passenger as now been freed due to a "lack of evidence". But this remains a cutionary tale

It pays to do your research before going on holiday. And to remember where you are. And to act accordingly.

You know when Chinese tourists clear their throats and then expectorate loudly? That's normal behaviour at home and they probably don't realise they are causing offense.

The same when groups of Russians gather together by the hotel swimming pool, smoking copiously and laughing loudly. Or maybe they don't care.

Different strokes for different folks - but beware when locals find your ways unacceptable.

This happened recently to a British holidaymaker detained in Egypt for "patting a security officer on the back", Travel Mole reports.

Family and friends of 51-year-old London businessman Tony Camoccio say he was arrested as he was leaving Hurghada Airport on February 8, and has been detained in prison since.

It is reported that the security official Camoccio touched as a "thank you" gesture, has accused him of sexual assault.

Family and friends had expected him to be released on February 12 but were then told the police needed up to 15 days to investigate the case. Which is clearly absurd.

A petition says: "At customs in Hurghada Airport on his outbound journey, he was at the final checkpoint where he was, as a standard procedure for all outbound passengers, patted down by a security officer. Tony then gently patted the officer's back and is now facing serious accusations.

"He was held in a general population cell overnight where he remained in handcuffs petrified for his life as he did not know what he was supposedly being charged with or what he had done wrong. This security official…is now accusing Tony of sexual assault."

Family and friends say video evidence, which could prove his innocence, has been held back by Egyptian authorities.

Back-patting may be offensive in Egypt for all I know. Which probably makes it a place worth avoiding. Obviously, it is not that keen on being welcoming to tourists. A bad look.

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