Yangon asks: Who is White Rider?

The identity of the mysterious motorcycling foreigner continues to elude police six months after his appearance on the streets of Yangon.

By X PAT WHITEMAN | FRONTIER

THE MOTORBIKE-driving outlaw, whom Frontier has dubbed the “White Rider”, continues to openly flout law and order in Yangon.

Atop what eyewitnesses claim to be a 125cc Chinese moped, the White Rider has been spotted in neighbourhoods ranging from Hlaing to Kyauktada, but no arrest has been made and police have yet to release a statement regarding the possible identity of this criminal.

Some argue that traffic police don’t want to bother with the hassle of processing a non-Myanmar speaker, or simply have more important things to deal with. Others have even seen police officers smiling and waving at the Rider as he passes by.

However, sources close to the matter have confirmed to Frontier that police have more than once come close to nabbing the White Rider.  

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In August, a motorbike was spotted parked outside the Nay Pyi Taw Cinema, mere feet from the Kyauktada police headquarters. But when approached, the unnamed foreign rider merely claimed he was en route to Thanlyin (a notorious sanctuary for motorcycles) and was allowed to ride off.

(Reports that the White Rider was seen in Thanlyin later that day, apparently enjoying an afternoon outside the city, are unconfirmed.)

Several weeks later, around midnight, a foreigner was stopped by two mounted police, who confiscated his keys. But the suspect developed a rapport with the impressionable young officers, who let him go after asking [sic] “You like drink beer?” and “You like Myanmar lady? Ha ha ha.”

Some reports claim the White Rider actually wheeled his dead motorcycle into a police station drive and asked to borrow of a litre of petrol, and that the officers simply showed him to a Denko station down the street.

The latter report remains unconfirmed, and Frontier has faith that the city’s top investigators are working around the clock to hit the brakes on the White Rider’s ride of crime.

A possible explanation is that the Rider’s moped is simply too convenient to be caught. One White Rider sighting on Upper Pansodan Road came a mere 35 minutes after another sighting on Parami Road – a rush hour journey that would easily have taken over an hour by taxi.

That Yangon traffic police often ride motorcycles of their own has not made a difference, indicating that this scofflaw has access to a network of secret routes unknown to law enforcement, and not that police simply have better things to do than enforce an arbitrary, pre-democratic ordinance that worsens traffic and deprives people of affordable private transportation.

Indeed, this is not Yangon’s first case of illicit riding. In 2016 police confiscated the motorbike of a Scandinavian man and kept it until he signed a written apology. It is unclear if he had a connection to the suspect at large.

So who is the White Rider?

Reports consistently describe a tall, light-skinned man who [sic] “looks kinda like Steven Seagal, but not buff”.

Some make him out to be some sort of vigilante against “corrupt” laws and cronyism. Others say he is merely an oblivious expat trying to cut down on his commutes. It is this magazine’s position that he is a cunning dastard who uses white privilege to shrug off our laws and customs.

We have a message for you, White Rider: You will run out of gas. Your days of running over peace and order are numbered. One day the law will catch up to you, take your cycle away and make you sign a little piece of paper to get it back.

For everyone else, we are putting out a call for any tips leading to the identification and arrest of the so-called White Rider. Contact us immediately if you see one of your foreign friends or co-workers carrying a helmet or complaining about saddle sores.

Nobody can hit-and-run justice.  

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