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The Beijing Tea Scam (and a few others)


roddy
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Gougou, restricting payment by card would have given the opportunity for them to up the bill even more. There's only so much you can pay by cash. I also forgot to mention this. There is almost no vendor or merchant in the world that does not accept cash, but only accepts credit. To my belief, it is almost the other way around with small businesses, since they have to pay a merchant fee with every credit card transaction. I urge people to be aware handling cards in foreign places. Make sure you use a traveler's card or something with extra security. And never sign a receipt from a transaction of which you are not sure of.

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I've got a question about taxi drivers. The first time I went to Beijing in more than 10 years ago, a Chinese teacher who had moved to Germany and was showing us around, told us that once she got onto a taxi, realised they were driving a totally wrong route and probably trying to kidnap her, so she jumped out of the driving car.

Have you ever heard about something like this? When I went back to Beijing some years later, I was extremely apprehensive about taking a taxi, but on the way back to the airport I took one that was standing in front of the hotel and had a nice chat with the driver about German cars :mrgreen:

But then that reminds me of that "always write down the licence plate when a woman takes a taxi by herself" warning I've heard countless times in Taipei and Bangkok. Even if nothing ever happens to you or anyone you know, you'll be sorry if it does...

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If taxis are so dangerous you need to write down the license number - don't take taxis. What are you going to do, wave off your friend with a cheery 'Don't worry, he'll be caught really quickly if he does anything to you.'

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i wonder if you sign the reciept 'help this is against my will" if the transaction would go thru at the bank....I mean it definitely wouldn't be 'your signature' then if you wanted to argue with the bank...

(here we go about passing around unconfirmed and potentially scaremongering info again, but i heard a few years ago 2 korean girls got into a 'heiche' in wudaokou and were never heard from again...)

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Chrix, I have heard similar stories. In many countries where there is not much municipal regulations of the taxicab industry, many unlicensed drivers will attempt to pick up people. For exactly what purpose we do not know. I do not know how it is in Beijing, but I know that all cabs in America must properly display a license from the city. You should always check for something that proves the cab is licensed.

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@gougou

"they" refers to the taxi driver, as we don't know their gender...

well the thing is, roddy, I don't know how dangerous taxis are in Taipei or Bangkok. Jakarta is another place people always fret about taking taxis from certain companies, overcharging you, driving away with your baggage and so on. And you never know how much of this is true or not, as I said I don't know anyone personally who's had such an experience (apart from getting overcharged of course). And at least in Taipei writing down the license plate seemed to be standard practice...

But should this stop you from taking taxis? In Jakarta taking the bus is regarded even more dangerous, so you have to take your chances....

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I think taxi drivers tend to get a bad reputation in Beijing as very often first and perhaps only experiences are of dodgy taxis at the airport or hanging around tourist sites. The vast majority of drivers are decent folk, albeit often with phlegm, smoking, and lane commitment issues. And that said, there does seem to be a tendency for lost mobile phones to be treated as bonuses.

I can see things being considerably more unruly outside of my Beijing bubble though. That's why I stay in it.

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and as the Chinese teacher put it, she had been living in the Germany since the early 80s, and maybe it was the early 90s, when the income gap was still much greater and when Chinese coming back to visit from overseas were seen as easy targets or something?

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Assuming it was an official taxi, and not a black cab, more than likely a completely new set of roads had been built in that time and they were going a faster way. (If you're going to kidnap someone you'd at least lock the doors methinks).

Official Beijing taxis are generally speaking safe and reliable. They are also clearly marked as taxis so there should never be any confusion as to whether you are riding in an official taxi or a black cab. In addition the receipt that is automatically printed out at the end of your journey has the distance travelled, the cost of the fare, the name and number of the driver and the phone number of his supervisor at the taxi company. If you suspect you were taken for a ride, keep your receipt and check with the company itself.

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yes, as almost always, I agree with the admins and also refer you to my post #175 on this thread. Overall, I have also never had any major issue w/ cabs in Beijing. Only the older pre-olympic red cabs, which I am guessing have been eliminated by now.

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They always say that, that you should write down the license plate number of Taipei cabs, or better yet, never ride a cab alone while female. But then how am I supposed to get home in the middle of the night? O wait, I should be a good girl and not be out that late in the first place. :-/

I took countless cabs in TP, and in my experience the biggest danger is that the driver is drunk and/or crazy. Most drivers are fine.

And as to Heifeng's scary story, there are a lot of scary urban legends in Wudaokou, and this might well be one of them.

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Interesting stuff :clap Thanks for sharing.

The first time I went to Beijing in more than 10 years ago, a Chinese teacher who had moved to Germany and was showing us around, told us that once she got onto a taxi, realised they were driving a totally wrong route and probably trying to kidnap her,

Scary, but I'm sure this could happen in Beijing, BJ cab drivers just happen to be most terrible mob I've ever run into (yes, I use taxi a lot in general :mrgreen:).My problem was they either wouldn't take me (I wonder why?:conf:wink:) or they overcharged me. So I had to learn to use the bus :evil:

I remember my first time in China ever, I almost got both kidnapped and mugged too.

My cell-phone got blocked when I tried to use a local sim card and a student (guy) came up to me and in quite good english asking what was the trouble, said he had a friend who did this kind of stuff and all I had to do was follow him and his friends (watching from a small distance)he knew a place where this could be fixed and at a small price too. I was lucky the man who sold me the sim-card was a witness to all this started yelling at them and chased them away and took me to China Mobile office in a nearby mall.

Guess I was very lucky :D

Edited by Music&MeForever
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I know that I was quite scared back then by all these taxi stories.... I remember watching 一一, a Taiwanese movie, in a German cinema, and observing that the female protagonist walked home at night in Taipei, totally unharmed and oblivious to the all the dangers lurking there! Let's just say that was a long time ago...

Discussing this topic, a Taiwanese friend told me that they had heard that now Beijing taxi drivers have started being afraid of their customers instead of the other way round, well, just like back home :mrgreen:

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What makes you think they were gonna kidnap and mug you?

Wot? :conf

Oh, just a hunch I guess :lol::lol:

No not really, actually I heard it from my rescuer because these are the very words he used shouting at them 8)

But some of the stories here are really creepy, especially heifengs :wink:

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the female protagonist walked home at night in Taipei, totally unharmed and oblivious to the all the dangers lurking there!
There are very few dangers lurking in nightly Taipei. I speak from experience. I loved those nightly walks, at 3 or 4 in the morning you have the whole city to yourself, and I felt completely safe.
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yeah, I know from my own experience :mrgreen: was happy to be back for a couple weeks last year and be able to walk back at night in light rain.... but when I lived in Taipei, people kept going on and on about the taxi thing.

but regarding the movie: I don't know if you've seen it, but the female protagonist havign to walk back home at night is one of the key scenes, so it left quite an impression...

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  • 2 months later...

Friend of mine returned from Beijing and told me about a new scam, which unfortunately he fell for:

The USB memory stick scam.

So he's walking down the street and someone flags him down to sell him a USB memory stick. First mistake, never do business with anyone that flags you down, odds of being a scam is greater, plus it just encourages them to be annoying.

But in this case, it seemed like a great deal: a 32 GB USB memory stick for RMB 200 (before bargaining). So he goes in.

Sales person shows him the stick, puts it into a computer, Windows shows 32 GB. He tries copying files onto the stick, back off it, seems OK. So he buys two (after bargaining).

Takes it home, works fine. Until he realizes that after it fills up a bit, any files he copies onto it has an error when copying off. Looking further, it seems that after copying about 1 GB of data, it copies onto the stick without an error, but can't read it back.

So we're assuming that it's actually a 1 GB memory stick that they modified the control processor to think it is a 32 GB stick. So it will copy data onto it, and show as 32 GB on any system, but any data written after 1 GB will be written to nothing and be lost.

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