Money extracting schemes

One of the most popular scams in China starts with two cute girls approaching you on the street. After a series of generic questions (where are you from? how long in China? etc.), they invite you to a tea-shop, karaoke bar or something along these lines with highly inflated prices. The price list is not advertised of course and such a visit would cost you an arm and a leg. During my stay in Shanghai I met these con artists thrice. These people are so friendly, so that I felt almost bad declining their offer and exposing their scam. When asked directly about their scam, I hoped for a “fuck yoouuuu, I hope you get hit by a car” type reaction as it happened to fellow travelers. Alas, the ones I met were pretty good actors and became all confused and defensive, but lost all the interest and the mask of niceness at the same time. Plus body language never lies.
Another practice involves purportedly deaf people over-eager to help you hanging around ticket vending machines in subway. These people “help” foreigners buying subway tickets by pointing fingers on the screen (even if buying a ticket could not be easier). When you are about to get your ticket along with change, they demonstrate you a card with the message that can be summarized as “I am deaf, give me money”. The kicker is that you already have a couple of yuan in your hands, which makes resisting these artists somewhat harder. Very smart.
In yet another widespread money extortion scheme they get you to write your name and a sum in a notebook for one reason or another. Apparently according to the local customs, once you do that, that equals to a contract and you are supposed to pay the stated sum. Of course being an ignorant tourist, you can ignore local customs altogether (without feeling bad about it). I plan to draw a comic the next time I get this request.

2 thoughts on “Money extracting schemes

  1. Go with the flow, suunnitelmat helvettiin ja menet kaikkeen mukaan. Niin se matkailu on parasta 😉 Hyvä englanti sulla muuten!

  2. the metro ticket thing is quite popular among gypsies in Paris and Rome. It’s hard to say no at first to a sourface young mother with a baby when you have a handful of coins, but then one gets used.

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