Crime Information for Tourists in Kyrgyzstan

The U.S. Embassy advises U.S. citizens to exercise caution in urban areas of the Kyrgyz Republic due to the high rate of violent crime against foreigners. There have been reports of violent muggings of foreigners in downtown Bishkek at night. Other common crimes include auto theft and pick pocketing in crowded places such as markets, internet cafes, and on public transportation.

After dark, travelers should not take public transportation or walk outside and should be extremely cautious in or near hotels, bars, parks, and all places that attract an expatriate clientele. The U.S. Embassy advises its employees to avoid the use of unlicensed cabs and recommends using only radio dispatched taxis. Travelers arriving at Manas International Airport should arrange their transportation from the airport in advance. There have been reports of U.S. citizens who were robbed by groups of young men who had followed them back to their residences from hotels and bars. In addition, U.S. citizens have been victims of rape, assault, and kidnapping in the past in the Kyrgyz Republic. Police officers rarely speak English and there are no victims’ assistance programs available. Medical care and counseling services for victims are limited.

Harassment and extortion by people who purport to be Kyrgyz police officers take place occasionally. According to Kyrgyz law, any person claiming to be a police officer must show identifying documents on demand. U.S. citizens should not act upon requests by people, whether in civilian dress or in police uniform, if they have no official identification. U.S. citizens also should not get into cars with anyone they do not know, even if the person claims to be a police officer.

Don’t buy counterfeit and pirated goods, even if they are widely available. Not only are the bootlegs illegal in the United States, if you purchase them you may be breaking local law. You could be prosecuted under U.S. law for pirated goods you purchased in the Kyrgyz Republic.

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