Why insulting cops in Colombia is a bad idea: Ben Baroch’s experience

An Israeli man was arrested, expelled and banned from Colombia for smoking marijuana in public and insulting police officers in tourism hotspot Cartagena.

The men embarked on hate-filled rants after policemen approached the suspect identified as Golan Ben Baruch and three of his friends for smoking marijuana on Cartagena’s popular Bocagrande Beach in April this year.

After the policemen asked for the men’s identity papers, Ben Baruch called at least one of the cops a “fucking faggot.”

I’ll pay this one 1.1 million [pesos] ($354). You know why? Because he’s a faggot.

Other insults uttered by the foreigners’ in poor Spanish ridiculed the cops’ presumed income and their alleged corruption by “the Colombian cartel.”

Paupers. Are you hungry, paupers? Do you want some food? There is no food.

The cartel pays you, the Colombian cartel, and you do nothing.

Golan Ben Baruch’s company

While the carrying of small doses of drugs is currently decriminalized in Colombia, smoking marijuana in public and disrespecting a police officer are not.

The men were removed from the beach for the misdemeanors that are generally punished with a $63 (COP197,000) fine.

A video of the incident was recorded and published online, causing a wave of indignation among Colombians who felt discriminated against by the Israeli’s apparent disdain.

According to newspaper El Tiempo, the men left Cartagena following their encounter with the police and the public outrage invoked by their behavior.

The Cartagena Police Department, however, forwarded the men’s personal information to the country’s Migration agency, which has an extensive database of foreigners and their possible run-ins with the law.

When Ben Baruch on Friday tried to extend his visa in Bogota, he was detained, expelled and told he will not be allowed in the country for another five years.

The discretionary expulsion measure against Golan Ben Baruch is based on the exercise and functions of the Colombian migration authority and is in accordance with Decree 1067 of 2015.

Migration Colombia

It is unknown whether the other three men have been to Migration or could still expect a similar arrest and expulsion from the country when they do.

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