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The Beijing Tea Scam (and a few others)


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That's a similar price to buying it in the UK. If it's good quality Longjing green tea, then you weren't ripped off too much, especially if you justify it to yourself by thinking you got a "free" tour of the process ;)

And at least it's very fresh!

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does this Tea House scam only get directed to men?

No, I saved a foreign lady in WFJ from them.

You also need to note that there are plenty of scams aimed at locals. Because scamming westerners is only efficient in tourist areas. In most areas there aren't westerns to make an honest scammers living out of them.

The tea and bar scam may also be used on local people. There are also plenty of girls on QQ chat which do the bar scam. So, be careful, you may get laid in other ways as anticipated.

As a rule, never ever go to a place suggested by "them".

a "lost" child is crying all alone. When you offer help, they'll give you an address

A lost child with an address sounds highly suspicious already. Unlikely I would help in the first place. I would expect most situation were one might would help in the west as a potential scam trap.

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I was in Beijing for Spring Festival. My buddy and I were walking around Tian'anmen when a girl in her 20's approached us and began giving us this spiel about being on vacation from school, wanting to practice her English, etc etc.

I let her go for about two minutes without stopping her and then promptly replied, "所以你想陪我们去个茶馆,是不是?“ Without responding she looked down and walked away.

Glad I read this post awhile back!

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The tea and bar scam may also be used on local people.

heh, yeah, one of my Chinese coworkers was a victim of the bar scam when he came to Beijing. He didn't have money for the suddenly huge bill from the prices on the 'other' (aka expensive) version of the menu and had to give up his cell phone before they let him go:(

Back to scams targeting foreigners, I bet that with the Olympics these scams are really gonna rake in some big money!

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  • 3 months later...



"茶托"引进门8人喝掉7455元 记者调查"黑茶室"




Teahouse closed down for ripping off foreigners

By Zou Qi and Lydia Chen 2007-7-13

The travelers called the Xinmin Evening News hotline about 7pm on Tuesday and complained that they had to pay up to 7,455 yuan for snacks at Taihe Teahouse.

They said they met five Chinese women while strolling around the Bund. The women soon invited them for tea at Taihe, according to Xinmin Evening News.

After an hour at the teahouse, the three French people and the five Chinese women were asked to pay 7,455 yuan. The French refused to pay, Xinmin said.

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??? Obviously the restaurant/tea house is in on it, how else would the scam be profitable?

"I wouldn't bother. You're only going to make them more determined to really scam the next person they get hold of, and you may leave an innocent restaurant owner with an unpaid bill when they also do a runner. Also in some cases the serving staff are expected to cover unpaid bills, on the basis that they shouldn't have let people run out. Let them know you know what they're up to (Anyone who approaches me on Wangfujing now gets asked 'tea or art' before they even open their mouths) and move on."

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??? Obviously the restaurant/tea house is in on it, how else would the scam be profitable?

I'm not sure how clear it is, but to clarify: it was suggested the tourist take the scammers to a [/completely different place and leave them with the bill there - not in the 'in on it' tea house.

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A few other scams I've heard of:

1. When visiting temples, people offer you incense (for praying), you assume it's free, take it, burn it, then they charge you ridiculous amounts for it. I believe this one is targeted at Chinese tourists though.

2. At some places vendors sell DVDs claiming they are films of scenic places in China. You buy it only to find out when you get home that it is blank.

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at the yuantong temple in downtown kunming, there's an older chap claiming to be from

singapore who likes to chat up foreigners. after following them around for 10 minutes or

so, building up rapport i suppose, he casually mentions that his wife is also in his tour

group. alas, she was involved in an auto accident in a distant city, and is now in hospital

in critical condition. so could you please lend him 50,000 rmb to pay for her bills? nice

to know her impending death hasn't prevented him from continuing his vacation.

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I ran into the guy from Singapore a few weeks ago at Green Lake. He said he and his wife were in a tour group and that they were in a bus accident coming from Dali. I must look poorer than you, because he only asked me for "10 or 20 dollars" to hold him over till the next day when his son arrives. When I said I didn't believe him, he said he was 80 years old and a Christian and then started singing Amazing Grace (or some other Christian song, don't remember). It was kind of sad. He seemed happy when I gave him 3 or 4 kuai, though. Pretty sophisticated for Kunming.

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I was approached 4 times in Wangfujing plaza last week in less than an hour. ...although the last one may not have been the teahouse scam because the lovely young woman ran up to me, asked if I spoke English and then offered to give me a massage. When I told her I was tired and going to my hotel room, she said, "I could come with you." She persisted until I told her I had a girlfriend. I have no idea what she might have had up her sleeves.

Definitely not Mao's China.

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  • 1 month later...

Wow, I feel like crap...

I was recently in Beijing and Shanghai, all the touristy areas, and didn't get approached once...

I mean, I'm as white as white can be, do I need to hold a special sign too? Or maybe they can spot the foreigners without any money... :cry:

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Maybe thats why they just dont seem to try with me anymore... I have to say I have not yet been approached in Wuhan yet, but it seems that there are not that many foreigners here (at least wandering the streets anyway) so maybe they havent caught on to that potential moneymaker yet...

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