Scam in China
Scam in China Beijing Reviews
'Are you Scared?' Beware of scam in China! Aug 16, 2011
Although my China-Trip was one of the best trips I've ever did, I also made a bad experience in Beijing (described in the end). To prevent this from happening to you, I wrote down some information here!
So when you plan a trip to China, regardless of travelling alone, as a couple or in a group, you should be aware of the following common scam-techniques:
### Scam on the Streets Pt. 1 - Taking you somewhere ###
No. 1 - The Beautiful Girl
No. 2 - The Tourist-Couple
No. 3 - The Students
All of them have one thing in common: They try to take you to some place where you will have to pay an outrageous high bill in the end.
No. 1 tries to get you just by her look - she wears a miniskirt or nice dress, high-heels and looks beautiful. They ask you for a date - eg. having a drink. Dont trust those girls and never go with them! I mean...within 2 hours in the evening - why would five superhot girls be asking you for a date? Does this happen to you in your country? No? Then you should definitely ask yourself if you really look that good (or rich) this evening or if its rather going to be a scam ;-)
No. 2 wants you to take a picture of them (check my attached photo while they are doing it!). They seem to be tourists aswell and ask you to take the photo. This is not unusual, cause most tourists in China are chinese people themselve. After taking the photo, they are starting a conversation which always ends with the same sentance: "We are on our way to a tea-party, do you want to join us?".
I wanted to be friendly 3 times but from the moment I realized what its just always about I started ignoring any chinese couples who wanted a photo.
One exception is if someone asks you for a photo together with you. As westener you are an attraction yourself somehow so that happens quite often. ;-) Just to be sure take care of your belongings but I never had a problem with that.
No. 3 is very similar to No. 2, the difference is just that they say they want to practise their english. Don't go with them either!
1 & 2 happen mostly when you are alone!
### Scam on the Streets Pt. 2 - Press for Money ###
No. 1 - The fluffy Mascot / Teddy / Mickey Mouse
No. 2 - The Rose-Kids
You can find No. 1 mainly at some huge tourist attractions, such as the Olympic Green in Beijing. Directly at the metro station you will see tons of disguised people who are trying to scam you by luring with their cute outfits. They mainly lure kids for sure, pose for a photo with them and afterwards they WILL NOT let you leave and hassle you until you pay them! Just ignore them and hold your kids away (I know thats hard :D)!
No. 2 - We were out in Beijing at the Workers Stadium at night. It was around 1am and little kids (less than 6 years old) offered us roses. I felt very bad for one girl and gave her some money. When she wanted to give me a rose a bigger boy came (maybe 8 years old) and showed me that I would have to pay even more. So I didnt and put my money back. He always took the money from the other girl...
### Scam in Transportation ###
No. 1 - Taxi (actually no scam)
No. 2 - Motorcycle Cart / Rickshaw
No. 3 - Offers
For No. 1 ensure that the driver starts the taximeter and ask for a receipt in the end. Theres a number on it and in case you forgot something or had problems - you can find out which taxi it was! Also pay attention to the start-price on the taximeter when he starts it, cause some taxis have higher rates than normal ones (without any specific reason).
At night time the prices will slightly increase, thats ok and no scam. Also 2RMB are always coming on top from a specific distance, thats a tax regulated by law and its also okay.
So actually you dont have to expect any scam when using a normal taxi, but maybe that information is helpful anyway. Rather the Taxis under No. 3 may be a scam!
For No. 2 be very careful cause I know somebody who experienced this. The driver says that he takes you to some tourist-attraction and just lies about the distance (which is the first scam). The truth is that its just around the corner but he will make a detour. So only take it if you know the distances AND let you show the price BEFORE! Better write it down - some of them also have a price-list that they show you afterwards though. Dont believe what they show you with their fingers. If they show a "3", they could mean 3RMB (which would be ok for a short distance, but subway is still cheaper), they could mean 30RMB which is a scam already and they could even mean 300RMB (happend to my friend) which is absolutely outrageous! To clarify that: You can take the metro in the whole city for 3RMB! 300RMB is as you would pay 300€ for a taxi drive in germany. If you end up in such a situation call the police (if its nearby). In his case there was no police, so he got out of the situation by paying 150RMB - still way too much!
No. 3 happens when you are on your way to famous places, such as the Great Wall. For example theres a cheap public bus going from Beijing to Badaling. While trying to find the right bus, strangers ask you if you wouldnt prefer an easier and faster way to go there. Some are taxi-drivers, some seem to be private drivers and again chinese couples (like "The Tourists") ask you if you would like to go together and share the cost, plus visiting a less crowded place. I dont really know about all of them, no idea if they will scam you but I think that some of them at least try from what I experienced in China. So a little more detailed:
3.1 As for the private drivers I would never trust them. They have no registration and therefore no number like a taxi-driver. You have no idea where they take you and what to expect - I would never do that. Or do you enter the car of a stranger in your country? No? Then please dont do it in China either!
3.2 I'm also unsure about taxi-drivers with their fixed prices. What if they take you there and on the way back they require you to pay a much higher rate? You cant just take another taxi, for example in Badaling they warn you not to miss the last bus to Beijing, cause the taxis waiting there have outrageous rates. What if they take you to a nice silent place on the Great Wall and when going back they only take you for a really high rate (that you probably cant even pay)? Better find 3-4 trustworthy people (maybe from your hotel), share the cost and get a driver organized by the hotel (many people do that) if you want to see another place instead of Badaling (it was okay to me though, the Bus to Badaling is definitely the cheapest way to see the wall: just 2 Euro to get there and back).
3.3 The couple again...the couple! Just dont trust them - isnt it weird that so many chinese couples just all want the best for you? Same counts here, you have no idea where they take you and who they are.
### Pickpockets ###
Surely they also exist, haha! I had it once on Nanjing Rd. in Shanghai when I was watching some streetdancers. I felt someone opening my backpack, a woman. I looked at her and she did as it was an accident and said "sorry, sorry!". >_>
So ensure to take your backpack in front of you in crowdy areas and dont put anything important in there. But that rule counts for every big city, right? I only had it on my back, cause I knew that nothing special was in there, only food/drink/map. :)
General Advice: Leave your passport, tickets and even credit card inside of the hotels safe! Actually its forbidden to leave the passport there but still better than getting it stolen, right? Actually you are required to carry it with you, because of your visa which is inside. So if a police officer asks you to identify yourself and you have no visa, they can take you to the police department to check if you are legal. My recommendation: Take a copy of everything with you but leave the originals in your safe. I think an officer would be okay with that ;-) (also heard that multiple times). Only carry the originals when you need them, for example if you need to buy long-distance traintickets (wont get one without valid original documents) or if you want to get money.
### WHAT HAPPENED TO ME ###
Well I knew about all those things and it seems as I was not able to avoid it (but it was tricky), so be very careful. It started on a street-market near Wangfujing Road in Beijing which is very popular. I saw a guy with a german soccer shirt and started talking to him. He was there with two other germans who were actually studying in Shanghai. They said that they met some other students from Beijing to have a drink somewhere. I didnt think about it very much, cause I thought they were just friends from university. They asked me to join them, so I did. Mistake.
We went to a bar around the corner and it was actually a good time. However after a while I became sceptic, cause they served different things that we didnt order, such as Rice, Tea and Cakes. I didnt take anything of it, I only had my single beer. I also told the others not to take it but they have already taken some cakes. When I asked them where they know the chinese students from, they said: "They started talking to us on the street, they said they are students and want to practise english!". DAMNIT, Rule No.3 was not payed attention to and just worked again!!! And when they noticed that we realized the situation, they gave us the bill and wanted 200RMB from everyone, which is absolutely crazy in chinese conditions. You can take a taxi through the whole city for 30RMB and must pay 200RMB for one beer? So I started to discuss that I didnt take anything else and therefor wont pay anything else but my beer. That guy said that its common in China to share the bill, regardless of what each one ordered. I said that I wont pay, I only pay my beer and asked how much it is. He said: "OK 100RMB!". I denied quite confident and gave him 50RMB really quick so he couldnt react anyhow. He was okay with that, left me alone and said to the others: "You ate Cakes and Tea, you pay 200RMB each!".
At this time noone else was in that bar anymore and the whole situation became very unsecure. They were discussing for a long time and the other germans only payed 100RMB but he didnt let us go. Then I said in german to the others: "Just stand up and let us go very quickly", cause I wanted to leave this place. When the others stood up, that chinese guy became upset, he came over to me very aggressively and screamed: "What did you just say? What did you say?". We were at the 1st floor, so we had to take stairs down. When I was on my way to the stairs, he crossed it and held my arm, stopping me and screaming: "Lets go over in this corner for a second, come on come on". When he tried to get me in this dark corner, I pushed him away and ran down the stairs and he followed me, almost pushing me downstairs. He followed me onto the street and screamed things like: "Are you scared now?" and "I will kill you m*****f*****, IF YOU STAY 3 MORE DAYS IN BEIJING I WILL FIND YOU AND KILL YOU!". He hold is cigarette in front of my eye all the time while screaming at me, while I tried to get out of his radius. I was really pissed and it was dangerous so I almost punched his face. But I didnt, that wouldnt have make it any better - you should try to avoid any kind of problems there!
Well at this time the other germans where outside aswell, following us. We formed a group then and walked away very fast. He followed us until we reached the mainstreet with many people.
It was a scary evening and I learned a lot - I think the others even more. I didnt sleep so well that night :-)
Ohh and dont expect any chinese to help you in any kind of bad situation. They are just staring as hell and dont do anything. I've seen quite a few weird situations in China, even bloody fights and everyone is going very near and just staring, but nobody ever helps.
37 / 37 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
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