Shanghai scams

Updated 2010-03-23 10:47

In Shanghai, like most of big Chinese cities, foreigners are ideal targets for some few scams. Be carefull to the following ones, very common and very effective. It mainly take place in touristic places like (People's square, Nanjing East road, the Bund, Xintiandi, Huaihai road,ect….)

The following scams are the most common and usually happen as follow. Be aware that there can be some modifications and, in general, Chinese people would not come up to you in the street if it is not for money. Then, watch out for attractive strangers with promises of great drinks deals at authentic places it usually result in big bills and dealing with the managers. Scams rarely get violent.

Tea ceremony

It is usually executed by a very nice couple, supposely on holidays in Shanghai, usually very elegant and friendly, speaking good English. They stop you in street and speak for a while, about different cultural aspects of China, and so on. After a while, they propose you to go with them to a tea ceremony nearby.

The tea ceremony is usually a small tea tasting of about 6 different teas and will cost between 50 and 100$ per person.

The English practice

It is usually executed by a single girl or a group of supposely students. Conditions can vary a lot but the idea is always the same. They accompany you for a while supposely to 'practice their English' as they have few opportunities to do so with foreigners. Then, they propose you to go and have a coffee somewhere quieter (it can be a tea house for the tea ceremony, an art exposition, or a bar/restaurant).

She will order drink and food for both of you. At the end bills usually turn around 100$.

The shoe polishing

This is less of a scam but can put you in uncomfortable situations: a man or a women put quickly a drop of shoe polishing on your shoes. Not speaking chinese, you can not say no and they finish to polish your shoes. At the end, they usually ask for 10$ for something done badly and you did not ask for. When trying to say no, there would be other people coming around and saying you have to pay.

Pay 5 to 10 RMB and leave.

If you're victim of a scam

If you find yourself in these situations, you can contact a local police station. They would normally send an agent with you to the location of the scam and you can get your money back.

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