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May 31, 2010

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Officer stays polite in hard situations

WHETHER it's blazing hot, freezing cold or pelting rain, Yao Bin and his colleagues man six of the city's toll gates and endure an endless stream of complaints and verbal abuse from drivers.

Yao, a police officer at Fengjing Toll Station in Songjiang District, said he and his colleagues are used to the harsh working environment, but that it doesn't deter them from their duty even though they don't like the complaints and abuse.

"Drivers usually complain that the security checks slow traffic," Yao, 29, told Shanghai Daily yesterday. "I understand. If I were them, I would probably feel the same way."

Yao said he just tries to keep his composure, use good manners and always smile when he speaks to drivers.

Yao said he remembers a recent case where a driver was upset with the lengthy queue at the toll station. It was May 15, and the security level was raised to the highest, requiring officers to check vehicles departing and arriving in the city.

Yao stopped a driver surnamed Li, who was in a rush on his way to Zhejiang Province, sparking the man's temper.

There was nothing wrong with Li's car but his suitcase was found in the trunk. Yao advised Li to keep the suitcase in sight to prevent it from being stolen. This further aggravated Li, who kept yelling abuse words at Yao.

Reluctantly, Li put his suitcase in the front passenger seat. He also recorded Yao's badge number.

"I thought he was planning to lodge a complaint," Yao said.

When Li was in Zhejiang, he found his trunk was pried open. Since Li had listened to Yao, his suitcase wasn't stolen.

After Li returned to Shanghai, he wrote a letter to the Songjiang District government in praise of Yao's work. Li also apologized for his rudeness.

Yao said the toll stations are open 24 hours every day and each police team works an eight-hour shift. He said it's hard to get a good night's sleep because of the irregular hours.

"We get a 24-hour break after every eight-hour shift," Yao said. "It's just like getting jet lag all the time."

According to police data, since April 15, an average of 160,000 vehicles enter the city each day.

In Songjiang District alone, 27 people have been caught in the security checks at the toll gates. Of those, 10 were suspects on the wanted list published on the nation's public security system, police said.


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