An Experience with Dutch Customs at the Schiphol Airport. Discrimination and Fairness
At the Schiphol Airport in the Netherlands, there is always a group of customs officers who have “nothing to do” but just to select some passengers to investigate their suitcases at the door. They claimed it is a random baggage check, but if you look closely, you will find out the people who were called into the investigation were mostly Chinese.
Yes, it doesn't matter to your nationality; it has something to do with your race.
Today, after two weeks of a hectic business trip in China, I landed at Schiphol airport but was “luckily” selected at the door by the” famous Dutch custom officers”.
The person checking my baggage is a woman.
First, she asked me where do you live? I said Rotterdam. She hesitated and asked me if I work in the Netherlands? I said, yes. She seemed to have no interest in opening my suitcase; however, I had been extradited to the place where the suitcase was opened.
In order to finish her job, she moved her attention to my (old) silk scarf and very affirmative that my scarf was bought in China. She asked me to provide the invoice for this scarf; otherwise, it would be considered to pay tax in the Netherlands. I told her that the scarf was purchased in the Netherlands a while ago, and I did not have an invoice with me. Of course, she didn’t believe it.
I argued her logic is ridiculous, as she cannot call a tax on my belongings, which I bought from the Netherlands and had used for a while. If her logic is right, she would be allowed to call taxes on all of my clothes, and all my belongings, because all of these were bought in the Netherlands and I am paying high taxes to this country. However, she was persistent just to have my scarf invoice. I asked why she said because my scarf is Hermes. I argued, please use your “interesting logic” to collect taxes on all my clothes, as the invoices are not with me though they were bought in the Netherlands long ago.
She did check all my clothes and stuff, while I told her go-ahead to collect taxes, set a list, and let us meet each other in the court. She looked at me again and claimed I was not polite, but she did not issue a bill on my nice Hermes scarf. (because hilariously enough, the Dutch Customs in Schiphol called the Hermes shop in The Netherlands to drag out my payment in order to get the proof of me purchasing it in The Netherlands).
What an interesting model of trust in the Netherlands! the basic trust between human beings is absent. or say it is just Dutch does not want to trust others.
Then she turned her target to my Chinese medicine in my bag which was prescribed for my sickness. She told me that my medicine would be confiscated. To do so, she asked me to fill out a form. I told her that the medicine is sold at Tong Ren Tang, a Chinese medicine shop, which is the same medicine sold at Tong Ren Tang Medicine Shop in The Hauge, plus I had a prescription from doctors. She persisted in taking away my medicine (prescribed for 30 days) by even inviting her colleague as a witness for my signature. She told me either I sign to give up my medicine, or I have to pay from my own pocket to hire a lawyer for this case there. It was literally a force to sign as if you do not sign to give up your medicine, you have to be there for the continuous process with customs until you get a lawyer. Such an unfair procedure gives no space to anyone and for sure leaves one to a vulnerable situation to be unfairly treated. I was taken to a room to be interviewed by two ladies and asked to fill a form with a Dutch -Chinese translator (because customs officials said they are not allowed to speak English with me. "are you kidding?") on the other side of the phone. The whole process was ridiculously stressful.
This customs official was extremely impatient to my question of the algorithmic of their random selection at the door and my complaints to them treating me discriminatively by requesting the invoice of my belongings which were purchased in The Netherlands. I told them I have no choice but to give up my medicine under their no-way-out to me. but I also had to write a comment on the form because the Dutch law gave me the right to add my comments. It took a long time for this official to agree to write down my comments finally, even with the episode in which the translator translated my points but she still refused to write down.
I asked: If it is a random check at the door of custom, why not check the Dutch white people. Being random means if you check a non-dutch-white (such as a Chinese), you would have to investigate a Dutch white; otherwise, it is not random, and it is not fair. Like in the investigation room only catching Chinese, obvious it is racial discrimination. She replied: They also check the whites - very fair; I replied: if so, could you please review the CCTV and check the investigation ratio between Dutch white and Chinese? also please tell me based on what algorithm do you use to do such a random selection? She did not answer.
I said: Dutch customs do not respect people and trust people. Inadvertently Dutch Customs at the baggage investigation treat people unfriendly and unprofessionally. They judge passengers’ property and the purchase place of the passengers' personal belongings with their explicit discrimination. There is only no logic behind but also no basic respect from them to people who were investigated. She said she didn't do so. I replied, what if I believe all her clothes were bought abroad, and she has to show me her invoice now; otherwise, her belongings will be taxed. She didn’t respond.
Furthermore, I commented to her another point which she refused to write down (because she said it is non-relevant to this case), which is,
- with the fact that our knowledge immigrants work so hard in the Netherlands and pay a significantly higher tax to this country than average, it is so disappointing to see how these officers have been inefficiently and unreasonably doing their job by spending our tax money on investigating unnecessary things and with their discriminative attitude to the other contributors of this country.
- It is sad to see the reputation and the fame of this country built by generations of the Dutch have been depreciating by the inefficient system and discriminative attitude.
This female customs officer had nothing to respond but claimed I was rude to her (I was not rude, I was just not to be submissive to her discriminative request). It is a shame to see her, being a governmental officer, performing without logic, no principle, no justice, no fairness, no respect, but excusing her own fault by claiming others. Definitely not a qualified and professional custom officer.
I got really enough there, had to sign the form with her. Of course, my medicine, which would help me to recover from my miscarriage, was taken away. and my Hermes Scarf was finally returned to me.
In total, it took me one hour. It is terrible to imagine, after a 9 hours cross-continent flight from Beijing to Amsterdam, you have to stay for another one hour behind the exit door because your color was so luckily and exactly chosen to be checked. But who is going to pay me my cost of this one hour, which can be alternatively used to work on many valuable things instead of this nonsense?
Shouldn’t be the Dutch Customs paying me my time ?
Shouldn’t be the Dutch outdated institutional system paying me my loss?
Finally, I said to this officer, thank you. She left even without giving me a look.
This custom officer is not a Dutch white either.
And hilariously enough, the Dutch Customs in Schiphol called the Hermes shop in The Netherlands to drag out my payment in order to get the proof of me purchasing it in The Netherlands.
After I signed the form, I was not allowed to have a copy of my signed form, either digital or hardcopy. I claimed this is illegal, as any signed form by both sides should be held by both sides. They didn't give me my copy and literally told me to complain to their administration, not to them. what a hilarious system!
[the Chinese version is published at Detection_Mirror ]
还有一点我说的评论， 这个女海关拒绝写下来（非说跟此事无关）。我们这些在荷兰的中国人，勤奋工作，努力交税，平均交税量远远超过荷兰平均水平。 看到这些海关工作人员用我们纳税人的钱如此无效率无原则无逻辑和有歧视性的做无用功，真是无比的痛心和失望。荷兰人民几代辛苦的努力建立起的荣耀正在逐渐被这些歧视的观念和无效率的系统在侵蚀。