TL;DW: Guy in California dressed his car up as a Chinese special forces police car, drove around intimidating an almost purely Chinese district, got arrested for impersonating a peace office. Guy in Australia dressed his car up as a normal Chinese police car, also intimidating the local Chinese community, got away scot free.


I think the California guy will be acquitted. The state law defines what "peace officer" is, which means California Highway Patrol, county sheriff, municipal and district police, university police, correctional and probation officers, and federal agents.

The law does not contemplate foreign police agencies, as they have no jurisdiction or power in California to begin with.

He was driving a car that says 公安 (public safety, not 警察) does not probably establish guilt.


If a classic car collector bought an old British or German police car and drove it in California, with a valid California license plate that does not start with a letter E (as in Exempt, i.e. government vehicle), cops won't do anything.

Likewise, if a Hollywood film production drove a fake prop police car on highways to a filming location, that is entirely permissible too, even if it may intimidate immigrants along the way.

What the guy did was mean and stupid, though.

@salixlucida I thought film teams would be required to inform the police and community in advance before driving around in prop police cars.


Movie prop cars also display a decal (magnet that sticks to the car) that identifies the movie prop company, but that's hard to notice from distance.

Of course their license plates are real and standard ones.

One thing these cars are not allowed to have is blue flashing lights (prop cars use white lights, which will be turned blue using computer during edit).

There used to be a prop car company near I used to live and those cars can fool people from across the street.


> One thing these cars are not allowed to have is blue flashing lights (prop cars use white lights, which will be turned blue using computer during edit).

Oh! TIL.
@clacke Might be because of laws around impersonating the police. Are the sirens edited in too or are they real?


@thatbrickster @clacke

Sirens are usually edited in since it could be heard from distance and may confuse the public.

Same with gunshot sounds in urban setting.


Blue light is reserved for government emergency vehicles only.

You'll also notice private ambulances don't have blue lights (usually just red only or red and yellow) for this same reason.

@salixlucida 警察 is a Hong Kong term (and Taiwan?) for the police. On the mainland the police are called the 公安, it's what they print on their uniforms and vehicles.
@salixlucida Huh. Now I saw on www.youtube.com/watch?v=ed4ryY… that the police were wearing 警察 vests. Is Guangzhou special? Or are they different kinds of police?
@salixlucida When I said "the mainland" I meant Guangzhou, that's where I've seen the 公安 vests and cars and I found it an interesting example of how Hong Kong written Chinese and mainland written Chinese have diverged in register, not just the superficial difference of simplified/traditional characters.
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