So, you are a citizen of the free world, wanted by your local authorities for something you did (whatever, we are not judging). However, just for fun: where would you run? Not that we are suggesting you flee the law. But with the governments of today being more tyrannical than political, if you did have to, what would your first choice be? Anonymity, discretion, and no extradition treaty with your first country should be the obvious points as rating criteria. So in the light of NSA whistleblower Edwin Snowden’s safe passage to the Russian Federation and Julian Assange’s first anniversary in the Ecuadorian Embassy guest house, we bring to you the top ten countries to go and disappear in. Happy hiding! Please do not send postcards.
One of the most overrated places by Western propaganda, Iran would be a pretty good place to go underground. One of the most undiplomatic countries (in terms of official relations established with other states), the government does not like other people meddling in its affairs, increasing your chances of not getting extradited. Learn Farsi, get an Iranian visa and you are pretty settled till a ripe old age. Add to that T’aarof, the famous Iranian etiquette culture, and you might actually end up making a lot of friends.
A subtle thriving tourism destination, tropical food and drinks, beautiful women, brilliant dance forms and balmy weather. Tell me, what is there to not like in Cuba? Add to that one of the best healthcare plans in the world, and the fact that the Government there does not play ball with most other nations, and you have an instant winner. The endless sandy beaches and calm turquoise waters make this punishment more desirable than anywhere else.
3. Western Sahara
The world’s most functional anarchy, Western Sahara is basically 266,000 square kilometers of empty, ungoverned space nestled between Algeria, Morocco and Algeria. If money is not an issue, this infrastructure-less place can be the perfect hideout to disappear off the face of earth. With rich fishing waters and sparse indigenous population, anonymity is almost guaranteed. Also, although under Moroccan rule apparently, due to the lack of state level policing, you will face virtually no issues from the internal authorities.
With just over 85,000 people, Andorra is one of the most unnoticed countries in the world. Which actually works in your favor if you want to go there and hide. With an estimated 10 million tourists per year, inn hopping will itself keep you out of the radar for long enough. Andorra also has an uncontested status of being a tax haven, and has one of the highest life expectancy rates in the world.
5. People’s Republic of China
The fastest growing economy in the world, Mainland China was bound to be on this list. The second largest country surely has plenty of space to let people disappear into. Also, the communist government does not like to be told what to do, and would almost certainly not rat you out (unless your crime transcends to some of their own laws too). With a billion settlements of some sort or the other, odds are you will find some work, somewhere. If you don’t, then you better give yourself up.
With a population of a billion people, if you can’t hide in a place like India, then you can’t hide anywhere, at least on this planet. With a rich multi-diverse ethnic culture, there is some place for everybody in this country. You can choose to live by your choice of people, weather, food, language, landscape and a hundred other aspects. Add to that, the disharmony between the local authorities and the vast distances make it almost impossible to find anyone. Unless you do something which alerts the locals (like coming to lunch dressed like a Wall Street wolf).
The richest country that you can escape to (and one of the most peaceful too), Brunei, or the Abode of Peace as it called, is one of the most successful constitutional monarchies is the world. What this means for a runaway convict is that the Sultan prefers to keep the matters of his state within (with a heavily suppressed media). Add to that a brilliant healthcare plan and ease of access to nearby kingdoms of Malaysia and Indonesia for a quick getaway (in case the polizei catches up with you). Punishment doesn’t get any better than Brunei.
The French have great food, renowned architecture, ranked one in the world in tourism and a general disdain for most other nation states. Which being said, the French have a history of harboring convicts (ask Ira Einhorn or Roman Polanski), and are strict advocates of not extraditing their own citizens. Also, getting a refugee status in France is a lot easier than most other European states. Just pick up a nice hobby, do not repeat your crime and nobody will bother you pretty much.
Not quite the head turner, Bhutan is the place to go if you want to just get away from all of it. No fancy strips, no noisy authorities and virtually zero foreign relations with more than half the world, the Land of the Thunder Dragon is quite the opposite of that. In fact, Bhutan is more like a criminal rehab. Ban on tobacco, cultural etiquettes requiring you to refuse hospitality (although you can give in after two or three offers), citizens being lawfully required to protect the environment and a recently lifted ban on the TV and internet, this is the best place to turnover a new leaf.
10. In plain sight or in transit
Why run away at all? Irrespective of how you escape, getting out of your country will invariably leave a paper trail. This will ultimately direct the authorities in your general direction. In fact most people hide in the least likely of places. In their attic, their grandmother’s house or a shady motel on the highway. Improvise a little and you can have a lot of fun till you’re caught. Or else get adventurous and keep moving. Chances are your government will eventually get tired of running after you and just drop the charges. Don’t count on it though.