Oct 9th, '10, 12:18
Joined: May 24th, '10
Beijing Tea Scam
Con artists in Beijing befriend tourists and, after a small chat, offer to take them to a traditional tea ceremony. This is not presented as a sales pitch by a tourism. Instead, the con artists act as if the ceremony is a regualr part of their daily lives and the victim is being invited along.
The tourists feel as if they are been allowed to participant in a very authentic experience that everyday Chinese people do.
Once they arrive at the ceremony, they drink a small amount of tea but are not shown a menu. At the end of the ceremony, the tea house owner presents the group with a large bill, perhaps $50 per head. Each of the con artists takes out the equivilant of $50 and pays the bill. The victim, not wanting to look cheap or stupid, does the same thing.
The con artists then share the money with the tea house owner.
Oct 9th, '10, 13:39
Joined: Jan 8th, '08
Location: Southern CA
That makes me sad.
Oct 9th, '10, 18:46
Joined: May 28th, '09
Location: PNW USA
They do this in touristy areas in Shanghai, too! Walking around People's Square and Nanjing Road, pairs of really friendly college-age kids with great English would approach me every ten or fifteen minutes, asking my name, where I was from, how long I'd been in China, etc.; this is almost *always* the beginning of a scam. (If not the tea house one, then something similar.) Luckily, after firmly saying, "Bu yao," they seem to understand that you know what's going on and will leave you alone.
There's a lot written about these types of scams online, and they're not limited to China, so it pays to do some research and become aware of things like this before you go somewhere!