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0334 Hiding from the Police

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Welcome to English as a Second Language Podcast number 334: Hiding from the Police.

This is English as a Second Language Podcast episode 334. I’m your host, Dr. Jeff McQuillan, coming to you from the Center for Educational Development in beautiful Los Angeles, California.

Visit our website at eslpod.com. You can find there the Learning Guide for this episode, a 10-page guide that contains all of the vocabulary, definitions, sample sentences, additional definitions, cultural notes, comprehension questions, and a complete transcript of this episode. So, if you want to improve your English even faster, download the Learning Guide after you listen to this episode, or before you listen to this episode. Of course, it’s a little late now since you’ve already started listening to this episode, but you get the idea!

Our episode is called “Hiding from the Police.” To hide from the police is, of course, something you would do if you, perhaps, have done something wrong. The vocabulary we’re going to talk about is the sort of vocabulary you might read in the newspaper about some crime that has happened. Let’s get started.

[start of story]

I read an article in the newspaper this morning about a man who had been on the lam for 12 years. He was wanted by the police because they believed he had committed a murder. But before the man could go to trial, he bolted and left the country. He has been on the “Most Wanted” list in this state ever since.

How did he get away? The police had confiscated his passport, but he wore a disguise and became a stowaway on a ship heading for China. While on the boat, he kept out of sight and was holed up in the cargo section of the ship the entire time. No one even had an inkling that he was on the ship! When the ship arrived in China, he got off and immediately assumed a new identity. At first, he didn’t have any identification and he had to go underground, but eventually, he made enough money to buy a passport on the black market.

How did he get caught? He tried to reenter the United States and the security officers at the airport saw that his passport was forged. He was nabbed right away and he’ll be going to trial soon. That is, unless he escapes!

[end of story]

Our story begins when I say that I read an article in the newspaper this morning about a man who had been on the lam for 12 years. “To be on the lam” (lam) means to be hiding from the police. It means the same as another expression, “to be on the run,” when you leave quickly because someone is chasing you, the police are trying to find you. If you are “on the lam,” you are hiding from the police. This word “lam” is not related to the animal lamb, which is spelled L-A-M-B.

So, this man has been running from the police for 12 years. He was wanted by the police because the police think he committed a murder – he killed someone. “To be wanted” in this case means that the police are looking for you. There’s a television show on American TV called America’s Most Wanted. These are the most important, or most sought-after criminals – criminals who are on the lam, who have been hiding from the police. The word “wanted” has a couple of different meanings; take a look at the Learning Guide for some additional explanations.

I said that the man had been on the lam, which means he is no longer, so the police must have caught him – must have found him. The police arrested him originally, but before he could go to trial, meaning before he could go in front of a judge, he bolted and left the country. “To bolt” (bolt) means to leave a place very quickly – to escape, to run away. This man escaped and left the country – he left quickly. He has been on the “Most Wanted” list in this state ever since – again, the people that the police are looking for the most.

How did he get away? Well, the police had confiscated his passport, but he wore a disguise. “To confiscate” means to take something from another person, usually to hold it for a certain amount of time as a punishment. So, if your child is playing with a toy, and the child begins to yell and scream – if you’re my neighbor, you just say “Good boy!” But, most parents, you would take the toy from the child – you would “confiscate” it as a punishment, and give it back to him later when he stops yelling.

Well, the police confiscated this man’s passport, but he wore a disguise. A “disguise” is some sort of costume, some sort of makeup or other things that you put on your face or that you wear so that you look like another person. “Disguise” is used here as a noun; it is also a verb: “to disguise yourself,” you could say.

This man wore a disguise and became a stowaway on a ship headed for China. A “stowaway” (stowaway – one word) is a person who rides on a plane, a train, or a boat without being seen, without paying. He hasn’t purchased a ticket. He gets on the plane or the boat, and no one knows he’s there; that would be a “stowaway.”

Well, this man was a stowaway on a ship heading for China. When he was on the boat, he kept out of sight. “To keep out of sight” means to remain unseen, to hide and not let anyone see you. This is what my wife tells me when we have visitors; she says, “Jeff, keep out of sight. No one wants to see you!”

Well, this man kept out of sight. He was holed up in the cargo section of the ship the entire time. “To be holed (holed) up” means to stay hidden in a small place for a certain period of time. You don’t leave; you don’t let anyone else come into where you are. This person was holed up in the cargo section of the ship. The “cargo section” is where a ship or a train or a plane has big packages or equipment.

No one even had an inkling that he was on the ship. An “inkling” (inkling) is a nice little word; it means an idea about something – a little bit of knowledge about something. Usually we say we “have an inkling.” “I have an inkling about why my wife is mad at me” – I have a little bit of an idea. It might be something about what I said concerning her mother, I’m not sure – I have an inkling.

When this man – this stowaway’s ship arrived in China, he got off of the boat and immediately assumed a new identity. “To assume a new identity” means you get a new name and begin to live and act like another person, like a completely different person.

The story continues: At first – meaning initially, during the early time he was there – he didn’t have any identification. He didn’t have any documents to show who he was, so he had to go underground. The expression “to go underground” means to hide from the police, to live in a place where everything is unofficial – there are no records. Usually this is something related to criminal activity – something that is against the law. In fact, there’s a noun, “the underground,” which refers to the Mafia – it refers to organized crime, people who are organized to commit a series of crimes.

So, he went underground, but eventually, he made enough money to buy a passport on the black market. The “black market” is a place where you can buy and sell things illegally, either because you haven’t paid taxes that you should, or because what you are buying and selling is illegal or stolen. So, if you try to buy cigarettes in the United States without taxes, that would be something “on the black market,” meaning it’s an illegal activity.

How did this man get caught? How did the police find him? He tried to reenter the United States – he tried to come back to the U.S. – and the security officers at the airport – the police at the airport – saw that his passport was forged. When we say something is “forged” (forged), we mean that it is falsified. Another word would be “counterfeit.” It’s when you try to make some official document, but it isn’t real, or it’s been signed by the wrong person. You can try to forge a driver’s license; make a driver’s license yourself that looks like a real driver’s license but isn’t real. We also use that term as a verb, “to forge,” meaning to make something false. Or, if we’re talking about a check that you get from the bank, it means to sign your name – to put the signature down of someone else. That is “forging a check.”

Well, this man forged his passport and he was caught. The police nabbed him right away. “To nab (nab) someone” means to arrest someone, to catch someone and put them in jail because they’ve done something illegal – something wrong. The man will soon be going to trial again – that is, unless he escapes. He’ll be going to the judge unless he gets away – unless he is able to escape again.

Now let’s listen to the story, this time at a normal speed.

[start of story]

I read an article in the newspaper this morning about a man who had been on the lam for 12 years. He was wanted by the police because they believed he had committed a murder. But before the man could go to trial, he bolted and left the country. He has been on the “Most Wanted” list in this state ever since.

How did he get away? The police had confiscated his passport, but he wore a disguise and became a stowaway on a ship heading for China. While on the boat, he kept out of sight and was holed up in the cargo section of the ship the entire time. No one even had an inkling that he was on the ship! When the ship arrived in China, he got off and immediately assumed a new identity. At first, he didn’t have any identification and he had to go underground, but eventually, he made enough money to buy a passport on the black market.

How did he get caught? He tried to reenter the United States and the security officers at the airport saw that his passport was forged. He was nabbed right away and he’ll be going to trial soon. That is, unless he escapes!

[end of story]

The script for this episode was written by Dr. Lucy Tse, who is not on the lam – at least, as far as I know!

If you have a comment or question about our podcast, you can email us. Our email address is eslpod@eslpod.com.

From Los Angeles, California, I’m Jeff McQuillan. Thanks for listening. We’ll see you next time on ESL Podcast.

English as a Second Language Podcast is written and produced by Dr. Lucy Tse, hosted by Dr. Jeff McQuillan. This podcast is copyright 2007.

Glossary
on the lam – hiding from the police; on the run

* After he was convicted, he went on the lam. If the police find him, he’ll go to jail for at least 15 years.


wanted – sought after by the police; on a list of people whom the police are looking for

* Betsy Smith is wanted for bank robbery.


to bolt – to leave a place very quickly; to escape; to run away

* Karina was so embarrassed when her dress ripped at the party that she bolted out of the house and started running down the street.

to confiscate – to take something away from another person; to hold something that belongs to another person for a period of time, often as a punishment

* If you drink alcohol while driving, the police may confiscate your driver’s license.


disguise – costume; clothing, make-up, fake hair, and/or glasses used to make one look like another person

* Guillermo wore a very strange disguise, and even his own mother couldn’t recognize him.


stowaway – a person who rides on a plane, train, or boat without being seen and without paying

* Xia didn’t have enough money for the boat ticket, so she decided to try to go as a stowaway.


to keep out of sight – to remain unseen; to hide and not let oneself be seen by anyone

* Maritza’s parents were very angry at her, so she tried to keep out of sight for a few days, hoping that they would calm down.


holed up – staying in a hidden and/or small place for a period of time, not leaving and not letting other people come in

* Craig will be holed up in his apartment studying for the exam every day between now and the 15th.


inkling – an idea about something; a little bit of knowledge about something

* Did you have any inkling that Garry wanted to move to Australia, or are you as surprised as I am?


to assume a new identity – to get a new name and identity and begin to live and act as another person

* Some criminals try to assume a new identity when they are hiding from the police.


identification – documents that show who one is, such as a passport, driver’s license, ID cards, and credit cards

* You need to present two pieces of identification to apply for a new passport.


to go underground – to hide from the police and regulatory agencies; to live in a world where business and everything else is unofficial

* The murderer disappeared and the police think he went underground, but they haven’t been able to find him yet.


black market – the place where things are bought and sold illegally, often because taxes haven’t been paid or because the products are illegal, stolen, or very hard to get

* Helena’s diamond necklace was stolen, but the police found it for sale on the black market the following week.


forged – falsified; counterfeit; an official-looking document that isn’t real, or that has been signed by the wrong person

* Eric presented a forged university diploma when he applied for the job, because he wanted people to think that he had a college degree.


to nab (someone) – to arrest someone; to catch someone and put him or her in jail; to catch someone who has done something illegal

* The thief was nabbed after the hotel receptionist recognized his photo on TV and called the police.


to escape – to get away from where one is being held, especially by the police; to leave jail or another place without permission

* The Alcatraz prison was built on an island to make it difficult for prisoners to escape.

Comprehension Questions
1. What does it mean for the man to have been “on the lam” for 12 years?
a) He has been eating only lamb for 12 years.
b) He has been hiding from the police for 12 years.
c) He has been riding a lamb as transportation for 12 years.

2. What happened when the man was nabbed?
a) He was taken away by the police.
b) He was fined for the forged passport.
c) He was able to escape.

Answers at bottom.

What Else Does It Mean?
wanted

The word “wanted,” in this podcast, means sought after by the police, or on a list of people whom the police are looking for: “The TV news is showing a photograph of a man wanted by the police for stealing jewelry.” The phrase “to want into (something)” means that one wants to participate in something or become involved in something: “I know you found a good investment opportunity, and I want in on it!” The phrase “to want out of (something)” means to want to stop being involved in something, or to want to stop participating in something: “Some teenagers want out of their gang, but they don’t know how to do it.” Finally, the phrase “to want (something) out of (someone or something)” means to wish to get something from a person or experience: “What do you want to get out of studying at the university?”

to bolt

In this podcast, the verb “to bolt” means to leave a place very quickly or to run away or escape: “As soon as the meeting ended, Mr. Yunoe bolted to his car and drove quickly to try to get to his son’s soccer game on time.” A “bolt” is a long piece of metal that one pushes inside a door or window to lock it: “We should buy a better bolt for your apartment door.” The verb “to bolt” can mean to push a piece of metal into a door or window to lock it: “Did you remember to bolt the front door before going to bed?” Finally, a “bolt” is a piece of metal that looks like a screw but is not pointed, and is used to hold two pieces of wood or metal together: “We need to buy a bolt to hang this lamp on the wall.”

Culture Note
The “FBI” (“Federal Bureau of Investigation”) is the U.S. government agency that tries to catch “federal” (national) criminals. The FBI publishes a list called the “FBI Ten Most Wanted Fugitives,” which has information about the 10 “fugitives” (criminals who are hiding from the police) that the agency most wants to catch, often because they are the most dangerous fugitives in the country.

The list is “disseminated” (shared with many people) among the public in newspapers, on websites, and on “posters” (pieces of paper covered with information and put on walls) in post offices and other public places. People are requested to call the FBI if they have any information about the “whereabouts” (location of where something or someone is) of any of the fugitives. In the past, the list has been very “effective” (good at doing something quickly and inexpensively) at helping the FBI catch dangerous fugitives.

As of late 2007, 486 fugitives have been on the FBI list, and 456 have been caught or located. Of those fugitives, 148 have been caught or located with help from the public.

Fugitives are “removed from” (taken off) the list when they are caught, when they die, or when they are replaced by other, more dangerous criminals. One man was on the list for only two hours, because he was caught “right away” (very quickly). Another man was on the list for almost 26 years, longer than any other criminal. The FBI never “ranks” (lists in order) the fugitives, because it does not want the criminals to try to become “number one” (the most dangerous or most wanted fugitive).

Comprehension Answers
1 - b

2 - a