Scam 1: Before we entered the Palace Museum we were taking pictures of the huge Mao portrait and a friendly guy approached us telling us he was a student.
Stop. Right. There.
We’d seen a warning telling us about this scam. Where friendly Chinese blokes and lasses ask you to talk with them in a traditional tea room, after which; you’re landed with a 700 Yuan bill. It’s only £70 but considering you’re only taking £20-£25 a day it wipes your budget and leaves a sour taste in your mouth. So we ignored him and he shouted some abuse, calling us “rubbish”, but then he left us.
Here is a link to someone who, unfortunately, fell for it; but got her revenge.
Scam 2: As we were strolling back to the hostel from the Forbidden City, we decided to take the subway. A guy pulled up on a motorised rickshaw (basically a trike scooter) and offered to take us to the subway. His lucky guess was our bad luck. He said it would cost “three money” we confirmed this a few times not wanting to get ripped off. Off we went and I almost immediately he was on his phone but he put it down without speaking. We weren’t going in the general right direction either.
He was back on his phone as he took us down a back street off the main road. Not wanting to panic Charlotte I was thinking of when we could jump off but Charlotte’s spider senses were tingling already and we both jumped out as we stopped at a turning. The guy was pretty angry and taller than me (a rarity in China). We gave him 3 Yuan but he said he wanted “three money”. Then he took out his wallet and showed him a card it said “City Tour 300 Yuan”.
Ah! I’d seen this warning too in the hostel. Rickshaw drivers will say the cost his 3 Yuan but really it will be 300 Yuan. I liked how he used “money” to as moral justification for the mistake. He then started to push me demanding “three money”. I just calmly said “no” and tried to walk away but he would just follow me back and try to push me. I gave him the 3 Yuan but it fell on the floor so he then ordered I pick up the money. “No”, I replied. No way was I putting myself in a position where he can attack me easily. So I stayed upright and just walked forward. He relented and drove off.
Not a nice experience; and not a nice “what if…” moment. But whilst a Charlotte was a bit shook up and we were more wary; we’d lost nothing and nothing bad had happened to us.
Here is a link to some other scams in Beijing.