Top 10 Tourist Scams Beijing

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Dear Travelers

We’d like to have the following travel guide to be always updated for the benefit of new visitors coming to Beijing.

If anybody having used the piece finds necessary updates, please leave a message or feedback. Thanks!

Plan your Beijing tour? Most foreign travelers feel very safe when traveling in Beijing. But that doesn’t mean you should lower your vigilance on possible travel scams in Beijing.

The remark below is quoted from Percy from USA:
Thank you for having this site. As a traveler and student of human nature, I appreciate the scam warnings and the comments. I am a native New Yorker, and I feel it important to remind people that scams are not only in China.

Anywhere around the world where there are larger groups of humans, there will be more opportunities for scams. It seems the way of the Universe that these will be filled. You should always be aware, do research and remember that if it seems off, or too good, it is probably a scam. This is true in China, the U.S., or any other place where humans exist.”

Latest feedback from Denis:
Hi, you website is very helpful. I can share my experience about another scam:

We used an official taxi with the meter, so when the ride was over, we wanted to pay with 100 RMB, as we didn’t have any other bills. The taxi driver didn’t like the bill we gave to him and asked for another one. Then for another one and so on (every time giving back the previous one of course).

He was also friendly but insisted on the other bill and we couldn’t understand what’s wrong and what did he wanted, so we just kindly gave him different bills to try out. At some point we just decided to leave because it started to become annoying.

After some more negotiations he finally took one of our bills, gave us the change and left. The next day, when we tried to pay by cash at a grocery store it appeared that 4 of our bills are fake and I’m quite sure they were not fake before.

Not such a big amount for learning a new type of scam (I have forgotten already that there is such a thing as fake money on the streets) though.


Scam #1 Avoid KTV bars
Whether you enter on your own or taken by a Chinese “friend.”, in most cases you are in for a trap! It is a karaoke place. You enter the room to sing a few songs and have a few beers. Suddenly girls appear and want to drink with you. Then suddenly a cart appears with lots of snacks and beer.

The snacks are NOT free and they are expensive–but more on that later. The girl wants a brandy and you say okay. You will end up paying huge amount of money! Just avoid KTV!

Scam # 02:  Tea Scam
At some heavy tourist areas (like Tiananmen Square, Wangfujing Street…),  you will be approached by one or three  attractive females or gentlemen, who are  willing to have a natural and nice talk with you or  even give you a free tour of hutong  in a polite way.  She or he will talk about the interesting things in Beijing, or talk about the culture or history of your home country and even world affairs!

Then if everything goes smoothly, then  invite you to a traditional Chinese teashops or ceremony. The whole ceremony proceeds then at the end of the ceremony your “friends” will ask you to pick out some favorite teas. So the scam start when it comes time to pay the bill, and it can again run into the hundreds or thousands of dollars. Simply don’t go for it!

To make the tea scam more natural,  they  pretend to be very friendly. They even don’t suggest you pay the whole amount. It is to be split between you and your “friends”.  So you  will see them pay their part. It is a scam!

It happens in central part of Beijing mainly, esp. in Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City and the surroundings.

Scam # 03: “Art Student” Scam
Also at some big tourist destinations,  some young people,  disguised as ” art student’”,  will approach you. They offer you a free tour of an art show. Thus begins the “Art Student” scam.

Actually they will take you to an art shop selling all kinds of “art” stuff. This is just a waste of time. You can easily find these art pieces on the market. They sell the same “art” at higher prices. Simply say bye to them.
It happens mainly in historical sites, and public transport hubs. They are good actors(actresses) indeed. To us Chinese people they say they are out job-hunting and is penniless; to overseas travelers they say they are art students. Many of them are very properly dressed.

Scam # 04: Rickshaw Scam
Some first-time oversea or even domestic travelers visiting Beijing fall into the traps of some seemingly “humble rickshaw drivers”. For example, let’s say, you and a rickshaw driver agree on a price of RMB 40 for a pedicab ride. It will turn out to be RMB400!. The trick is that your rickshaw driver will pretend to be ignorant and he will pull out a laminated price list and say it is 400 yuan instead of 40 yuan. Better take a taxi than a pedicab.

1) Rickshaw Scam at the North Gate of Forbidden City
There are two entrances to the Forbidden City – the south gate ( Meridian Gate – Wumen)  and north gate( Gate of Divine – Shenwu Men).  The south gate is linked to Tiananmen Square to the south. You have to enter Forbidden City from its south gate and exit from its northern gate, which is officially set as a one-way south to north travel route.

Make sure you are taken by your taxi to the south entrance of Forbidden City (better yet, take the subway line 1 –  its very nice and very cheap!). Don’t ever take a Rickshaw at the north gate of Forbidden City unless you feel like getting lost and extorted.

So if you visit Forbidden City by getting to a wrong gate (north gate), don’t use a local rickshaw to get back to the south gate, just walk to the right gate (south gate). For the same reason, if you exit from the north gate after visiting Forbidden City, don’t use a rickshaw for your next place.

2)  Rickshaw scams also occur at the entrance to the “Legend of Jinsha” which is performed at the Beijing Workers’ Club in Beijing.

3)  Rickshaw scams possible at any places in Beijing
Rickshaw scams could occur at any other places in Beijing. Be Vigilant!

 Scam #05: “Black” Taxis
When arriving at the airport, keep away from the taxi drivers who approach you in the terminal or outside the terminal as they will charge you much more than the actual price. Just following the sign pointing to the taxi line just outside the terminal. Taxi drivers should use their meter; make sure that the driver puts down the flag.

Taking a taxi from the airport to the downtown Beijing costs just over RMB 100 plus RMB 5 toll fee. Beijing legitimate taxi license plates will begin with the “Beijing B” otherwise it is possibly a black taxi!

After paying a legal taxi, you will get a legal computerized receipt in which you can find the taxi company’s phone number while a black driver only offers you a hand-written receipt with which you will never find him! A black driver would charge you RMB 400 – RMB 500 for the airport downtown drive! Normally a taxi ride from the airport to the downtown of Beijing costs you around RMB 120.

Black cars could be found around the subway stations, shopping malls, and also around some major tourist attractions such as Summer Palace, Forbidden City and Wangfujing Street and Beijing Railway Station as well.
By the way, your taxi driver may pull out a very official looking list of all hotels and official airport price. Never belive so-called official taxi-rate list of all hotels and official airport price. Never such a taxi-rate list!

It seems that there is a new kind of scam in Beijing when it comes down to the taxi’s.  Taxi drivers are asking their passengers to get out of the car and help to push it / close the trunk. When the passengers are outside, the drivers takes of with all their belongings.

For more information on taxi, please visit Beijing Taxi.

Scam # 6:Fake helpers/officials around Mao’s Tomb at Tiananmen Square 
When you line up for entering Mausoleum of Mao Zedong, you will probably meet some fake helpers or officials who are trying to “grab” some money from you.  To avoid being cheated, please read the following travel tips:

The admission to Mausoleum of Mao Zedong is free. No need for passport ID check and no need for buying shoes to replace your sandals (though not encouraged). As with most mausoleums, strict rules are enforced for visitors. No bags and cameras are allowed inside the hall. One locker is located 500m to the east of the mausoleum. The deposit is not free ( yes, a little strange)! The charges on deposit locker ranges from CNY 2 to 10.

Scam #07:  Scams Occurring Around Tiananmen and Forbidden City
The area around Tiananmen Square and Forbidden City is a favorite hangout for scammers.  Below is a trip by a scam victim named  Akalan:

In fact this was my 4th trip to China, but first trip to Beijing. Many a times many people, usually young ladies chatted with me and they helped me a lot. Even on the same day morning I went to the Great Wall and a young girl with good English walked with me. All those I met earlier were genuine people who just wanted to help a visitor to their country. Most of the time they did not even allow me to pay a bill, ticket price or taxi fare.

With that sort of experience, I had no suspicion on this woman. Still my priority was to get into the Forbidden city ASAP, as it was passed 3pm and I knew that the ticket sales would stop at 4 pm. This lady said that she would show me the “East gate” where I can enter without a long queue. Yes, there was a queue of people at the main entrance.

I simply followed her advice and she walked with me to “show” the entrance. On the way she said she is from Xi’An (a city I visited 1 month ago) and we had quite a good conversation on history, culture and languages. She also explained some history of the area.

She said her friends from another province are there and they will meet her in 10 min. If I can wait 10 min, they also can join me to go inside the Forbidden city. While waiting for them, she suggested me to sit some where and have a tea or fruit juice. In fact after walking and climbing whole morning in Great Wall area, I was thirsty and wanted to sit and stretch my legs. So I agreed.

I tried to sit on some chairs laid outside, but she suggested to go inside – less noisy, less dust and air-conditioned! I picked a Chinese tea and the scam began!

You know the rest. Yes, she split the bill, still I lost a few hundred! Worst thing was that she took me to a gate, assuring that I could enter from there, but obviously there were no ticket counters. I had to get to an electric car. The driver charged 20, instead of 2, as he sensed my urgency!

He actually did not take me to the ticket counters, instead, he stopped somewhere and a woman approached me. She was telling me that the ticket counters are closed and she would sell a ticket to me for 100 ! I did not want to let some one rip me off for 3rd time, within 15 min. Finally when I found the ticket counters, they were closed! So I missed the Forbidden City!

Scam #08: Avoid Itinerant Tour Companies at Street
AVOID TOURISM COMPANIES, the ones who talk to you at street, promising a great price to go meet Great Wall (for example), they will make you pay more inside the bus, will take you to the worse section of the Great Wall, and prepare yourself for a long day stopping at market places, really awful experience.

If you want sightseeing, get a legal one, from important sites.

Scam #09: Cheating Rampant at North Gate to Forbidden City 
There are two main gates to the Forbidden City – the south gate ( Meridian Gate – Wumen)  and north gate( Gate of Divine – Shenwu Men).  The south gate is linked to Tiananmen Square to the south. You have to enter Forbidden City from its south gate and exit from its north gate, which is officially set as a one-way south to north travel route.

So don’t try to go to the North Gate to Forbidden City.  The North Gate now only serves an exit gate.  If you get to a wrong gate ( the north gate ),  just walk along the streets circling Forbidden City and move on to the south gate. In this case, you are not encouraged to use a rickshaw or a 3-wheel motorcycle taxi at the north gate of Forbidden City.  Some  of the rickshaw and 3-wheel motorcycle taxi drivers are just disgusting swindlers.  Avoid Them!  Below is the account by Bill of the victim at the North Gate to Forbidden City.

I was a victim of two scams in the same day! The first was with a 3-wheel motorcycle taxi at the north gate of the forbidden city. I was offered a ride to the south gate for 3 Yuan. The taxi drove through a maze of narrow alleys and he stopped at an isolated spot. Then he demanded 300 Yuan, about $48.

The second incident was the tea shop routine. A nice couple invited me to a local place near Tiananmen square. I told them about the taxi incident and they sounded shocked and empathetic! We were given snacks (2 Yuan per bag in the store), some high quality tea, orange juice, and about 1-2 ounces of wine. The bill was 1200 Yuan plus 100 for the tip. He paid half (money probably borrowed from the owner), but I was still squeezed for over $100.

The next day, near the same square, a woman began a nice friendly conversation with me and tried to do the same thing. The good-bye was very quick.

Scam #10:  The Counterfeit Money
Hi there – another scam to add to the list is the counterfeit money. We used a standalone ATM at the silk markets and received many hundreds of RMB that was fake. We didn’t know of course – its nearly impossible to tell. Now we have some lovely souvenirs that look like 100 RMB notes 🙂
The advice would be to use a bank ATM I guess.

More Tourist Scams:

Tourist scam on Chinese Medicine ( Feedback from christian Holscher )
There is a tourist scam where people pretend to be part of the China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences. They pretend to be doctors and ‘diagnose’ an illness just by taking the pulse. Then, they sell very expensive pills which are most likely just herbal remedies.

The company does not give receipts for their sale, and no address or contact number was provided. They clearly do not pay tax. All what they give to the customer is a worthless certificate with no address. The real of this company can be found on the credit card receipt.

06611Tip:  Hassle-free Beijing Guided Tours
If you don’t want to go the do-it-yourself route and prefer the hassle-free escorted tours,  here are some options for guided tours to Beijing:

Beijing Highlight Day Tour from US$59 P/P
(Tiananmen + Forbidden City + Mutianyu Great Wall)
Beijing Classic City Tour from US$65 P/P
(Tiananmen + Forbidden City + Temple of Heaven + Summer Palace)
Beijing Excursion Tour from US$59 P/P
(Mutianyu Great Wall + Ming Tomb)
Beijing Hutong Highlight Tour from US$59 P/P
( Hutong + Rickshaw)

Mutianyu Great Wall Half Day Tour from US$55 p/p
Hike from Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall Day Tour from US$69 p/p

Mutianyu Great Wall Layover Tour from US$65 p/p
Beijing Highlight Layover Tour from US$75 p/p

Further Readings

Top 10 Attractions in Beijing
How to Visit Forbidden City
How to Visit Temple of Heaven
How to Visit Summer Palace
How to Visit Ming Tombs
How to Visit the Great Wall of China
How to Visit Tiananmen Square
How to Visit Hutongs
How to Visit Olympic Sites

Top 10 Markets in Beijing
Top 10 Shopping Malls in Beijing
Beijing Shopping

Wangfujing Night Snack Street
Qianmen Commercial Street
Beijing Huguosi Street

Any questions, just drop a line.

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157 Responses to “Top 10 Tourist Scams Beijing”

  1. Olga says:

    I was in china last week and thanks to this web page, I did not get any scam! Many time girls and black taxi approached, but I remembered your advises. What I did not like about China was the environment…too much contamination..I got sick…. the pollution is too high. The washroom are too dirty! no soap, it is easy to get sick there….Now I have to detox my body..

  2. Greg says:

    Thanks for all this recommandations. I live in Paris, and we have the same !

  3. Emily says:

    I will bear these in mind when i go to beijing, thank you. However In scam 10 is it a typo when you say “if YOU are stolen call…” or do actual people get ‘stolen’ off the streets in Beijing regularly?

  4. admin says:

    Hello Emily,

    Thanks for your pointing out the sentence in Scam 10 which sounds a bit weird, a little misleading. I have a try to change as below:

    If things from you are stolen by thieves, call the police at once

  5. Joao Ribeiro says:

    Fantastic blog my friend.

    I’m in Beijing at the moment and must say that scam 7 “tea ceremony” almost happened with me today inside the Oriental Plaza.
    A friend and I were stopped by this girl, very kind at first who took us out of the mall with a female friend. After 2-3 minutes outside the mall I insisted we were not going so they got furious at us.
    After that, walking inside the mall again, we were stopped by other girls 2 times still, with the same kind invitation for a couple of coffee.

    Please post this to your readers.

  6. Kerrie says:

    I got scammed by the tea scam last night. One young girl, pretending to be visiting an older friend in Beijing for New Year came up to me in front of the entrance to the forbidden city, introduced herself and her friend and said she liked to speak English. Then she suggested that we go for a drink together (coffee, juice… they never mentioned tea.) At the first junction past the big imposing gate, the older lady, suggested that we turned left and 50m or so further down the road she entered a narrow shopdoorway. It didn’t look like a cafe but it had lettering on the door saying ‘coffee, juice, tea, snacks.’ We go into the shop and are sent into a small private room at the back. Theres a traditional style tea table and lots of teas.

    When the menu comes out, its all tea. The 2 girls both want to drink it… and, at 50 yuan, per person per cup its not cheap. I tell them that I think the tea is very, very expensive and that I dont have very much money (I reckon I have between 30-50 yuan in my purse) The younger girl says its OK, that she has some money left from her trip and wants a treat before she goes home. The older woman has already sat down and looks reluctant to move.

    I agree to have one cup of jasmine tea and tell them again that I dont have much money. They order one each. When they ask me about the tea ceremony and I say no, they dont look too happy. The menu says the tea ceremony has an additional fee – it doesn’t say how much.

    A couple of minutes later 3 teapots arrive. I drink my cup of jasmine tea. Before its empty, the younger girl refills it – with the wrong tea. She says sorry then says its OK, and that I should try all the teas. I say (again) I dont have much money.

    2 plates full of cheap potoato chip like snacks arrive. The girls offfer me the snacks. When I say no, they start eating them. Since they’ve already eaten them and we have to pay for the plateful, I figure I should too.

    The conversation dies out and a couple of minutes later the younger girl recieves a phone call telling her to go home. She suggests we settle the bill now as she doesn’t have much time left.
    The bill arrives. 150 yuan per person per tea (total… 450 yuan) 100 yuan for each plate of snacks (200 yuan total) and 100 yuan for the tea room. Total cost 750 yuan for less than 15 minutes of tea drinking (1/2 cup of jasmine tea and 1/2 a cup of jasmine tea mixed with some bright pink stuff…)

    They expect me to pay all the bill. When I tell them that I cannot the younger girl gets upset. Then the older lady suggested that the bill is split 1/2 and 1/2. (375 yuan for me, 375 for them) I tell them again, that I cannot. The younger girl gets angry calling me a liar and saying I have money somewhere and demanding to see my credit card (thankfully I left it in the hostel) I take out my purse and offer to show them the money I have… a couple of English pound coins and 37 yuan. I take away 3yuan for the subway and tell them they can have the rest. They guve me the Englsh coings back and the younger one becomes angrier saying ‘I show you memu.You say its OK.’ I repeat that I never said it was OK that I said it was expensive. She calls me a liar again and says she knows that I have money somewhere. I empty out my pockets, tisses, gloves and 3 1 yuan notes. She yells again and says that I wanted to take them to drink tea. I said that I never wanted the tea, that they suggested that we go for a drink and that I thought that we would be going to somewhere like Starbucks. Then she starts yelling that I dont even have enough for starbucks, Starbucks is 39 yuan. That I had cheated them and that I was being rude expecting them to pay for my drinks (I never expected them to pay… they were the ones who suggested it was ‘OK’ when I said that I couldn’t afford it.) I tell her that I dont know how much Starbucks coffee costs as I dont drink there.

    I push my way past them and leave. They pull my bag (a small backpack) but let me go. Walking back towards Tianamen square I start to feel a bit guilty walking away… What if I hadn’t been scammed and the girl was spending her New Year saving on my stupdily expensive cup of tea etc ??? what if she really was upset etc ?? Then a couple of miutes later when I reached the junction with Tiamamen square and I saw the 2 women walking back towards the tea shop (they told me that they would go to Xidan station…) I knew that it was probably a con and felt quite glad that I hadn’t had enough to be able to pay.

    For anyone who wants to taste Chinese tea / see the tea ceremony…

    The kind of tea normal people drink in restraunts etc. never costs this much… Also, if you go to a tea shop in a Chinese town they will normally let you taste the tea for free before you buy it… When you taste it they will usually sit you down at a small table and pour the tea in front of you (so you can see the way they use the first pot of tea to warm up/wash the cups etc… what the scammer claim is a ‘tea ceremony’)

    Also, if you go out with Chinese people, and they invite you to go with them, they rarely expect you to cover the whole bill.

    Loads of Chinese people do want to practise their English and some of the people who say hi in places like Tianamen square aren’t scammers. They are who the scammers claim to be, students front small towns visiting Beijing and glad to see/be able to speak to a foreigner. They will talk to you without pushing you into taking them anywhere.

    By staying in youth hostels, drinking in hostel bars etc you can meet lots of very friendly people who are very enthusiastic about learning/speaking English and talking to foriegners. They will suggest places you would enjoy travelling to, help you learn basic Mandarin, discuss English movies they like, tell you a bit about Chinese hostory, tell you about their upbrining and why they are travelling etc etc etc.. None of these people expect will you to buy them anything, even a cheap bottle of beer…

    And if you meet someone around Tianamen or around the tourist spots who wants to practise their English and go for a drink, and you like them, are enjoying the conversation and want to buy them one, suggest they walk with you for a while… For a drink take them to a cheap milk tea/fruit juice shop, for a coke in somewhere like McDonalds or KFC or for coffee, tea in somewhere like Starbucks. If they really are a scammer they will make excuses as to why you should go to a teashop or they will soon get bored and want to be back on the streets looking for their next victim(s)

  7. Stephen Smuin says:

    Scam #1 should now be KTV.

    Whether you enter on your own or taken by a Chinese “friend.” You are in for a major screwing, not literally. It looks like a karaoke place, but wait. You enter the room to sing a few songs and have a few beers. Suddenly girls appear and want to drink with you, “No Charge.” You feel it looks like fun and you say okay. Suddenly a cart appears with lots of snacks and a six pack of beer. The snacks are NOT free and they are expensive–but more on that later. The girl wants a brandy and you say okay; brandy is 130 rmb [later it turns out that is per ounce–the drinks obviously turn out to be three ounces each].

    The waitress wants to drink and you say, NO. She says no problem she will buy her own drink. When she finishes it is placed on the table. The girl will play you and rub up against you and dance for you. She can really drink, [though you notice she leaves the room after each drink {only to find out later she spits it in a can or vomits it up.]

    Each time the waitress buys her own drink she places it on the table.

    When you have drunk too much and know you need to leave, the waitress says you must tip the girl and the waitress as they live on tips only, they do not get paid. What is normal tip? 600rmb a $100 each?????? Oh, and they must get tipped before bill. Why? Because they know there is no way in hell you will tip them after the bill comes.

    When the bill comes it is over $2000 for four of us!!!! Interestingly all the waitress’s drinks got counted on the bill. They merely count all the bottles and glasses on the table many of which the waitress or the girl escort were going to buy for themselves!

    You ask to see the manager and he agrees to lower the bill to $2000 but no lower. You explain you do not have that cash. No problem–one of there big guys accompanies you to the ATM conveniently located right outside the bar. On the way back to the bar you poke your head inside a room and tell some college kids to watch out they are going to get fleeced, you are ushered out so fast your head is spinning.

    After too many beers you are not thinking to just not pay, hide your credit cards in your shoe, run away, or call the police, they are counting on too much alcohol and not much clear thinking.

    Once outside I meet four young guys from America who had each been ripped off for $300 each. In talking to other people anything marked KTV and you are going to get fleeced.

    I am meeting with the Chinese consulate to see what can be done.

    But Scam Number #1 should be avoid KTV bars!

  8. Satty says:

    We are in Beijing and today got hit by the Tea sca

    A guy and girl came over to us and we thinking we would be clever told them we were French so they wouldn’t bother us. But the spoke good English and continued to chat and ask, the guy spoke to my friend while the girl spoke to me. She was very knowledgeable about world wide affairs and Chinese history. We were thinking of going to tianamen square but they told us it was closed for the flag cerimony so we stood infront of the fobidden city and watched it from across the road. We watched it together for aprox 30min, during this time the girl suggested we go for a drink after.

    We walked together back up the road and they took us up the road that runs parallel to the forbidden city. They walked and asked which place we would like to go, we tried on which they checked and said was full, we then continued and went to another.

    They ordered the tea and snacks and we just went with what they recommended, we still spoke and it felt like they were genuine. When the bill came it was 1800yaun…… We were shocked!! I asked for the menu and it showed the prices as was on the bill, so we couldnt really argue the bill. The girl asked if it was ok we split the bill 3 ways. We knew when the bill came out that we had been scammed but didn’t understand why they were also paying….. I had never heard of this thing before. Have been many countries thought the world and have avoided the strip club and bar scams with girls and others but these guys were very convincing!!

    I dnt think my friend and I wanted to admit we had been scammed but we knew we had and later that evening we had girls coming over asking if we could chat with them and soon after asking if we wanted to go for a drink…. That would have probably been easier to notice but these guys spent so much time with us talking general chit chat before suggesting a drink.

    Be careful people, no one is that nice for no reason!!!

  9. Teresa says:

    Just back from being hit by a tea scam on my first few hours in Beijing. Still can’t believe it – the couple were very nice and knowledgable about Europe. They started talking to me (a single female European) at Tianamen square and said they would show me the areas around the Forbidden City which they did. After 30 munutes I was getting keen to get back to the Subway but they insisted that we have a cup of tea for helping them to improve their English. Still I never suspected a thing, the girl in the couple ordered samples of 10 types of tea then snacks arrived then she ordered 2 favorite pots of tea – we were there 30 – 45 minutes, she was persuading me to have a glass of wine – pretty glad now I didn’t… There never was any mention of money, then the bill arrived – almost 300 euros of tea was drank. Having travelled with business for 10 years all the over world I prided myself in never being conned – but I was well and truly caught today. I am telling everyone I know that may even think about going to China about this scam as I am well and truly disgusted that such a cute couple could con me out of 300 euros.

  10. Sam says:

    Beijing great wall day tour scam
    As we are from Singapore we understood Chinese and took a mandarin speaking day tour that we picked up from our visit to the forbidden city. Initially the tour seemed fine, although we any parts of the supposed tour was not fulfilled. The worst was yet to come when towards the end of the journey we were brought to one of warehouse which looked like a typical shop selling jade. The tour leader had told us that the bus had to make a mandatory stop here to wash the bus. When inside we were ushered into a big room with sofas and seated. A lady came in and started to tell us about how to tell the differentiate a good and bad jade when suddenly her manager came in and said that their big boss had decided to visit and that we were a special group. After awhile the big boss came and started to talk to us and told us that his father was seriously ill and that a master had asked him to come to our specific group to ask for blessings. We were then ushered into another room and asked to shout blessings into a camera for his father, after awhile he started to threaten us verbally and when people tried to leave the room he threatened to beat them up. With this scaring tactic he then asked us who was willing to pay for donations for him to light lanterns for blessings for his father to live longer, everyone was so scared that we were compliant and he asked people to willingly donate and a few people were the main targets and he kept swiping their credit cards till he chalked up more than 2k rmb which he “rewarded” with his expensive jade (which prob is worthless). In the end we were finally let off after he took the details such as the name address and identification number of those who donated. Truly a scary experience and this were done to their own china people.

  11. Trevor says:

    For Teresa if u can contact her: Why did you pay the whole bill? There where three of you. Is it only the foreigner who is expected to pay? I would have just paid the 100 euro and left.

  12. Richard says:

    Tea Karaoke scam,

    In Being settled in walled the street, I was alone, 2 very nic girls, same story as above only the bill was presented for 2900 RMB, The girls ordered Juice, Wine, Tea,

    I just refused and said call the police, no way, the girls start crying, we are so poor, you Americans think you own the world, blah blah, at the end I was hungry. Per the scam, they pull out some money and offer to pay a part, I say no, I won’t, period, they lock the door, I stood my ground in the end I paid about 400 RMB or 60 bucks,about what would have been fair. It was very obvious, though I would not go and would not pay, and they didn’t know what to do with me. It was wild, any way a sucker born every day and two to take him

  13. John says:

    Got caught out by the tea house / ktv scam.

    Walking down the street near forbidden city, 2 girls approach me. One says she studies English, they are themselves visiting Beijing from a smaller village. They chat away, we turn down dong’anmen street, and suggest they are thirsty – “long day walking around forbidden city”.

    Im thirsty too, so agree. Then they quickly turn into the really small “tea house”, 1 table, a small room at the back with a ktv system… When they took me in there, alarm bells ring… I see a lock on the door with a key inserted. I’m worried I’m paranoid, so don’t want to abandon them In case they really are just 2 girls being friendly – but say we should drink on the table, near the door, rather than the small back room. They agree.

    Drinks come out, but I’m worried, so barely have a sip. They drink away – tea, orange juice, wine. We chat… And it’s actually quite interesting, they tell me about China. I enjoy it.

    Then the bill comes out.. 1100rmb. Ridiculous. I make a fuss…. But they seem so innocent, they agreed to pay half. In the end, I hand over around 400rmb. They walk me out, and I remember something they mentioned… I was asking about their jobs, one girl said she earned little over 6000 rmb a month. “so 1 visit to a tea house costs you a 6th of your monthly wage?.”

    At that point, they make their excuses. I realise I’ve been thoroughly scammed. I turn around to ask them… Not sure really. I suppose I wanted them to admit it, as I’m slightly annoyed / embarrassed to have been so easily taken in.

    I walk back past the shop 10mins later… Not really sure what my intentions are, perhaps to prevent it happening to someone else. As I walk down the street, I notice im being followed. I double back, and back again, just to confirm it. Then I approach the guy and ask, “why are you following me”.. He says “I think you are looking for two girls yes..” he gives me a hard look, and points me in the direction away from the teahouse. To be honest, going back was far more stupid than being initially scammed.

    I realise now, as I look around, that there are 3-4 guys watching this closely. I walk away from the first, back toward the busier shopping street. A guy on a bike follows me all the way to wangufging, before turning back… Where he stops outside the tea shop I was scammed in.

    The point of all this is to tell everyone that this is very scary, organised crime… Yes it was carried out by 2 innocent looking girls, but you are watched every step of the way by the surrounding gang.

    I do not know why nothing is done about it… It seems well documented on the internet… And the tea houses are obvious in their purpose. I’m surprised Beijing would allow this so blatantly, so close to a national monument.

    In the end, the money lost was insubstantial – really. I feel sad this has tainted my trip to an otherwise wonderful country. I also feel sad for the girl I spoke too…. Her English was very very good, she was obviously bright… But I worry now over the circumstances of her fallen into scamming. Is she doing voluntarily? Perhaps.

    I’m just sad.

  14. admin says:

    Dear John,

    Don’t be so sad. Life is still beautiful despite of some die-hard evil things like the tea gang. Much thanks for your valuble time writting this detailed account of your unhappy experience in Beijing! This will help prevent others from being taken in. Thanks!

  15. David says:

    A scam that is running at the forbidden city is the Rickshaw scam. I was taken to the forbidden city by a taxi that I had arranged from the hotel. It let me off at the exit of the forbidden city, instead of the entrance. Immediately a Rickshaw driver approached me and told me I was at the exit and he would take me to the entrance for only “3”. I refused several times, but then noticed that it was at least a 30 minute walk to the entrance. After checking the price with him several times (3 Yuan) we were off. Soon enough he was taking me into very small alleys away from the normal streets. When he stopped, he said “Ok, now you pay”. So I got out the 3 Yuan, but suddenly his english was much better and said “300 not 3!”. Then showed some type of bogus homemade are card that said the fare was 300 Yuan (about 50 US dollars). I refused to pay and said he was trying to steal and that he should be ashamed. He became very angry and then several other young men began to gather around in the alley. I walked away but he followed, yelling at me with the others. I held my ground, but in the end gave him 5 dollars to get him off my back. My Chinese hosts were shocked at this story and said that Chinese people are honest and would never do such a thing. 🙂
    Lesson: Make sure you are taken by your taxi to the real entrance of Forbidden City (better yet, take the subway – its very nice and very cheap!). Don’t ever take a Rickshaw unless you feel like getting lost and extorted. Finally, google maps works well in China – use it! It saved me.

  16. admin says:

    Hello David,
    We are glad that you held your ground. Thanks for your time writing your experience in taking a rickshaw at the north gate of Forbidden City. The rickshaw scam is a warning for the tourists in future. We have added Rickshaw Scam as No.4 in our Top 10 Tourist Scams in Beijing. Thanks!

  17. Michael says:


    My friend got fleeced by the nephew of the last emperor.

    Tour guide took us to a shop just before the exit of the Forbidden city and introduced us to the nephew.

    Offered calligraphy by the nephew.

    Cost my friend 1200 Yuan.

    There is in fact a nephew… but according to those who have been scammed it’s not whoever you’re talking to.


  18. Leigh says:

    I was scammed 13,500 Yuan at a tea house by 4 English speaking ‘friends’ who I met at Tiananmen Square. The guys said they were staying at the Novatel on a business trip paid by their boss. They seemed so genuine and not the scamming sort. But piecing it together afterwards there was a lot of questions about what I do for work and conversations about how much upper class Chinese people will pay for wine when they go out for a meal… But they referred to themselves as middle class so I wasnt expecting a bill for ‘upper class’ beverages.

    Between the 5 of us we drank 2 bottles of Spanish red wine, a beer each, some tea and food. No matter what country you’re from it shouldn’t cost that much for lunch.

    I only paid my share after the other guys paid on their credit card in front of me.

    I still can’t believe I paid it, these guys were really really good because they come across as regular business guys in their early 30’s.

    It’s amazing the city allows this to continue, it was a tidy tea shop a few minutes walk from Tiananmen.

    Oh and the next morning I was hit up again after taking a ride on one of the 300 yuan rickshaws from the north gate of the Forbidden City… No way was I going to pay this time!


  19. admin says:

    Hello Leigh,
    Thanks for your time writing your experiences pertaining the teahouse scams at Tiananmen Square and the rickshaw rip-off at the north gate of Forbidden City. Your post is a good reminder for new visitors coming to Beijing. Thanks!

  20. Ryan says:

    I just danced the Beijing tea house hustle.
    Very similar experience to the rest of folks and I’m sad to hear this might be part of a bigger organized crime thing. At least I thought the girls did a good hustle, the tea was great, fine conversation. They should certainly get the proceeds, if in fact there are any. I had paid with a credit card and managed to cancel the transactions with my bank back home after returning to my hotel a half hour later (and reading all these posts).

    My dilemma was whether or not to go to the police with this. I figured, most likely from the multitude of posts (dating back a decade or so as far as I can tell) the police must be in on this or it would be stamped out in no time. If they’re not in on it, and I some how am able to bring these girls to justice (and the teahouse involved) what happens then? Do they get executed or sent to the gulag for hard labor? I don’t want that either. If it’s an organized crime thing and I push it too hard then I worry about my own safety. So I’ll just leave it I guess.

    I live in Taiwan now, and I will just go ahead and say for the record that I have found the people there impeccably civilized (to a fault even), and if anyone ever approaches me on the street in Taipei to go to a teahouse and have a chat, I will still go.

  21. Joanne says:

    Tiananmen Square fake helpers/officials around Mao’s Tomb

    We were in Tiananmen square this morning and got taken by a scam we had not read about in any travel guides. We are pretty familiar with many of them but this was new.

    As we stood in line to go see Mao’s tomb, a man approached us and said that we couldn’t have our bags if we were going into the tomb. He walked us across the street to a locker set up and we had to pay 50 yuan to leave three bags there. Fair enough. although we do think it is likely less than that.

    Then as we walked there we told him we only had one person’s passport and he indicated that wasn’t a problem because he would get us in. He looked official enough with a blue top similar to others there. Then out of the blue he stopped us and said that we had to have shoes on…..2 of the adults in our group had sandals on. That would cost 25 yuan per person. So we bought the shoes. Then he needed 20 yuan per person for us to go in the exhibit. That is when we got suspicious because we knew it was free. We said we would pay him 20 yuan if we got in because we were wondering about the passport issue.

    As it turns out, you apparently do not need shoes to get in, we saw several people with flip flop sandals in the lineup who got through without shoes on. In addition nobody checks ID so the thought that he could get us through on one passport is also false. 

    So, at the end of the day we were 70 yuan shorter and a whole lot wiser. We did see other groups of Caucasian people being led down the same garden path.

    Thank you for the many tips.

    Regards, joanne 
    Sent from my iPad

  22. admin says:

    Hellow Joanne,

    Much thanks for your story about fake helpers/officials around Mao’s Tomb – a new scam! This will be helpful in guiding new visitors to Tiananmen Square.

    Mausoleum of Mao Zedong Admission is free. As with most mausoleums, strict rules are enforced for visitors. No bags and cameras are allowed inside the hall. One locker is located 500m to the east of the mausoleum. The deposit is not free ( yes, a little strange)! The charges on deposit locker listed as below:

    1. Storage charge for cameras
    One-time cameral: CNY2
    Normal camera: CNY3
    Long lens camera, Laptop, Video camera

    2. Storage charge for bags
    Less than 20 cm: CNY2
    20cm – 30cm: CNY3
    30cm – 40cm: CNY4
    40cm – 50cm: CNY5
    50cm – 60cm: CNY6
    60cm – 70cm: CNY7
    70cm – 80cm: CNY8
    80cm – 100cm: CNY10

  23. Justine says:

    Hi Admin,

    Hope you could also provide your feedback on the experince I posted. I just want to know if such thing was normal or a new scam.

    Thank you.

  24. admin says:

    Hello Justine,

    Thanks for your feedback on 877 for Badaling! Have you encountered any scams in Beijing? If yes, please post it here and help others. Thanks!

  25. Justine says:

    My friend and i were brought to imperial Pharmacy (tong ren tang) by our tourist guide. There, we were asked to stay in one room where there are lots of comfy chairs (just like in a massage parlor). After which, there were two staff who did brought in basins with hot water with tea bags. They have told us to soak our feet and did a massage afterwards. Then an english speaking lady went inside the room and did some orientation about chinese medicines. Two tibet doctors went inside as well with translators and diagnosed our condition by just checking our hands and tongue. After the sessions, we were asked to buy some medicines to cure our illnesses. I was charged 2,400 CNY (around 435 USD) for 3 bottles of herbal medicines.

    After that experience, we felt that we were scammed. I wanna know if the said pharmacy is legit since its not included in the scam list. Also, i wanna know if these medicines that we bought are safe to drink since there’s no english translations in the boxes except for the website that says ‘’. Appreciate feedback regarding our experience. Thank you.

  26. admin says:

    Hello Justine,

    Sorry that you and your friend were scammed.

    Tongrentang, or Tong Ren Tang (Chinese: 同仁堂) is one of the two most well known producers of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) in China: Tangrentang in Beijing ( operating drug stores predominantly in Northern China); Huqingyutang in Hangzhou (operating drug stores predominantly in Southern China). Both are time-honored Chinese pharmaceutical companies founded in Qing Dynasty (1644 – 1911).

    Fake Tongrentang stores are rampant online and offline. The authentic Tongrentang is very much frustrated at so many bogus Tongrentang drug stores, but they have much difficulty in combating them! The official website of Beijing Tongrentang is (Chinese), (English). On its official website, Tongrentang has listed 45 illegal websites operated in the name of Tangrentang. “” is listed No.05 of the illegal websites on the page of .

    Tongrentang Official Complaint Phone Number (Beijing): 87632652, 67015895

    Thank for your time writing us your experience at so-called “Imperial Pharmacy (tong ren tang)”. This will help keep others from being scammed. We’ll add the fake Tongrentang on the scam list.

  27. pires says:

    hi all,
    how i wished i read this before hand. i got scammed at a KTV.

    right, so i was off alone at night, looking for massage when this girl outside a ktv opposite citibank. she said theres massage inside 100 yuan and 100 yuan for room rental. so 200 yuan total which is not too bad considering i had 300 yuan in cash at that moment

    i went in. girl came in. asked me what i wanted to drink. i said coke only. she brought in her own drink without asking me. then i started getting suspicious, and asked her how much is everything. then it started with her saying i need to pay her “lady tips” which is 500 yuan.

    i argued with her and walked out the room. next thing i saw was 3 guys waiting at the corridor and by the way there were no other customers there. one speaking english pushed me back in the room and closed it. told me i had to pay (this is the way it is in china).

    i shoved the 300 to the girl and asked her to shut up already. and then asked for the bill. 2200 yuan was the bill. shocked as hell. the two drinks she took cost 880 yuan each.

    the english speaking guy took my wallet and started rummaging through. then 2 of them escorted me to the atm (citibank). my legs were shaking coz there were no one else in sight and these guys looked really thuggish. i was ready to pay and get lost. unfortunately, my atm cards were not working.

    tried another bank still no results. and now he told me lets go back and meet my boss, maybe he let you go. legs shaking i stopped right in front of the ktv and said call ur boss to meet me here on the street. they strong armed me back inside.

    boss came out. thuggish as usual. rummaged thru, and discovered one of my atm cards had a debit function. thank god. i never used that before. he swiped it and told me to get lost.

    moral of the story; dont enter their damn ktvs..ur trapped…5 mins and one coke and i forked 2700 yuan.

    by the way what do you guys think would have happened if i dint have that debit card-would they let me go-or cut my hand??

  28. admin says:

    Hello Pires,

    Sorry to hear your massage story at a KTV, which is reminiscent of a scenario in a mafia movie. “Some people” are looking for girls under the pretext of having body or foot massage at a studio. But these “some people” often fall in a pit and blackmailed by the KTVs or massage studios in connection with mafia. They think these”some people” won’t dial 110 to contact the police because of their obscure mentality.

    Of course, you are not the “some people”. You are only misled by the girl. So when we are looking for massage, we must be vigilent on the authenticity of the studio by consulting your hotel staff, your Chinese friends or check massage information online.

    Pires, thanks for your time writing us the story to give some enlightening to the new comers. Thanks!

  29. Mei says:

    After reading the top 10 scam in beijing,

    How would I still get a Hutong ride by trishaw?

  30. admin says:

    Hello Mei,

    There is a Hutong Tour Rickshaw Ticket Office by the side of Bell Tower ( on the southwest of Bell Tower ). They sell various kinds of Rickshaw tours. But still be vigilant on a particular pedicab driver. Tourist Traps are still there like any popular tourist spots in the world. Have a good time!

  31. Chris says:

    I got scam a few months ago by the Tea ceremony, at this time i just arrived in Beijing a week ago for work sent by my company, I was walking nearby Wanfujin the big shopping street close from the forbidden city when a girl arrived and started talking to me in a very good English.

    When kept talking and walking along Wanfujin when she suggested we go to drink a Tea and join a Tea ceremony, very interested in traditional Chinese customs and not aware of this scam i said why not.

    I won’t talk about the ceremony because it’s always the same basic scam. After it she received a call from a supposed friend and had to leave, then i said “and what do we do for the bill ?”, she said i must pay this is the custom in China, man always pay.
    Then the bill arrived, it was about 700RMB for 20 minutes of tea drinking, i said i won’t pay and this is a scam, so the staff person said i must pay or they will call the police.
    I told them they can call the police if they want, this is a scam and if i get fined for not paying whatever because all this place will be closed by the autorities and they all gonna go to jail for years.
    They didn’t trust me and i reminded them that i had my camera and recorded everything (i always record my sightenings/travels), i have proof and they don’t.

    The staff guy said it’s alright and they left me go out.

    The only thing is to be smarter than them.

  32. admin says:

    Hello Chris,

    You have outwitted a scammer. Great! You has had the upper hand from beginning to end this time because you know you haven’t done anything wrong and have nothing to worry about.

    Some people are scammed because they have some weak points that have been made use of by swindlers.

  33. rubik says:

    Tea Karaoke Scam,

    I happened today to me, nearby forbidden city. One girl just stopped me and chat with me. After a while she offered to have a tea, so we went somewhere nearby forbidden city, into very small coffee shop, only one dark room, with small table and KTV system. She asked immediately to have a wine or something stronger, but I was so tired so I told her that I do not want to get drunk and we ordered two teas. She was asking a lot about me and then trying to sing some songs and even we had one dance together. She asked several times if I want red wine and I always said no. After one hour, she offered to go outside for a walk. I said ok and she called waitresses to bring the bill.

    Bill was 1900 RMB!!! for two teas. I said, it is impossible, that some tea can cost 950 RMB and they must be cheating. She get very angry and saying that I am not gentleman but she can pay half. I said sorry, I do not have that money. She told me to pay by card (that I had in my pocket but she did not know about that), so I said that I do not have any card here.

    And i shown her that I have only around 220 RMB in my pocket.
    So she said, give me 200 RMB and I do not want to see you and talk to you never and I will pay the rest…
    I said I am sorry, I can not give you that money because I need around 100 to get back to my hotel, so she kept asking how much I can pay, I said 50RMB and she started to scream at me that she will leave and she will not pay anything and I will have to pay that whole amount.

    I said ok, I give you 100 RMB and I immediately left. Than I kept asking people around that coffee shop about the price of tea and I met one guy who told me that I am not fist one…

    In few minutes two next girls stopped me and invited me again for a tea!!! I was sure that they will want to go to the same coffee shop as I was scammed. I asked them where they want to go and I was right, they shown me the same “scamm office”. So I left and try to call police, but they did not understand English so I decided to let it be and I went away.

    Immediately two black Audi A6, with very dark windows were spying me every moment, I met these two black cars driving around at least 10 times. I realized that something is wrong and I can get into big problems, so I finally took taxi and just came to my hotel and I am reading all of these stories, I did not know that this is happening but I should be happy that I lost “only” 100 RMB.

  34. admin says:

    Hello Rubik,

    Thanks for your personal story of experiencing a real Tea Karaoke Scam, a vivid warning to oversea visitors coming to Beijing! We are happy to learn that you have only lost RNB100.

    While we are complaining about the disgusting and die-hard Tea Karaoke Scam, it is advisable to think about our own mentality which may give a chance to Tea Karaoke Scam. Why me?

    Thanks again for your time and vivid story!

  35. KTV_ed says:

    Thanks for the top ten scam post. Unfortunately I read this after my first night in Beijing. I walked into a dive KTV bar which with two girls I met on the street claiming to be business students they seemed authentic and looked like typical students they spoke very good English (warning). I ordered a beer, they had pear juice all at an ok price 40 rmb or so each drink. Then we heard people singing in the room next to us and one of the girls suggested we grab a room when one was open and sing some songs. I hate karaoke, but it seemed harmless enough. Well, after 8 songs and 4 more drinks, we got hit with a 5200 rmb ($800 us) bill! I argued that the decimal had been misplaced, but I was outnumbered by 3-4 bar staff who wouldn’t let me leave until I settled at least 1/2 of the bill which was still too much. The trick was the wine, they claimed it was about $500 a bottle french wine which tasted like crap. The KTV room was about 100 rmb/hr. Then they pulled out a price list and sure enough that’s what the wine was going for. Rather than risk a fight, or arrest since we did technically order wine (actually the girls drank it). I just paid the bill and got outta there. Beware the KTV bars and friendly girls who are eager to take you there!

  36. admin says:

    Hello Johnh,

    Sorry for the KTV scam! Thanks for your time writing us your experience! It is a good warning for new visitors to Beijing.

  37. mustafa salim says:

    Going to Beijing this Tuesday… getting quite worried after reading all this.

    I guess what I need to take from this page is avoid good looking, good speaking chinese girls who randomly approach your for a chat.

  38. admin says:

    Hello Mustafa,

    Actually these kind of tourist scams could be found in some of the tourist cities in the world. In some cases, we are cheated and scammed simply because we are too “greedy”, greedy for girls, greedy for free lunch and the list could be longer due to our own human shortcomings. Of course, some people are conned simply because they want to interact with the locals, learn more about the local culture and custom, but they are really innocent of what is going on.

  39. Dr Ali Lohar Khan says:

    The same thing happened with me in Beijing but God Saved me with my wisdom. lol
    i was walking in a street just near W2 building in Beijing and a boy approached me and started to talk and telling me whether we could be friends. i told yes that is fine we are friends. then he asked me to go for a drink i said sorry i m Muslim and i don’t drink Alcohol, then he said we can have coffee, when he insisted again and again i felt a little more strange and i thought that he might be a gay and just want me to get on him lol but i was not that kind so i refused. i said i m sorry i don’t want to drink coffee or tea – thank you. and then he just left.

    then on the same day few hours later at the other part of the street two other girls approached and asking me the same things if we could be friends i said yes then the second thing they said is if we could go somewhere sit and have green tea and talk so they can practice English. so i told them if they want to practice English or just friendship so we can sit on the bench just beside the street and talk as much as they want but i not willing to to drink anything. lol. then they said oh ok bye bye see you next time.

    i felt very strange and when my Chinese good friend got off work and came our of the W2 building i asked him this thing he himself did not know deeply but he told me they are cheaters. later i asked some foreigner classmates they told me these stories and when i searched in Google so i found mother friends having same experience and felt sad for those friend who lost money in these scams.

    i just thought how they could be this much good to invite me immediately within a minute after meeting lol.

    Being a Doctor i just know Care is better than Cure. Always take care and be wise to make things clear first with the strangers and then move.

  40. admin says:

    Hello Dr Ali Lohar Khan,

    You are smart! Very good! No free lunch. Some cheaters make use of some of our human shortcomings in seek for free lunch, money and sex.

    Thanks for your time writing your successful story, which is useful for newcomers!

  41. Josh Collins says:

    Hello there fellow scam victims,

    I am Joshua Collins from London and I am currently studying at Loughbrough University, UK. The way I was scammed has not been mentioned here so i feel i should tell all. As a seasoned traveller (spent most of last year backpacking through bradford and burnley) I did not feel I would be susceptible to any scams yet as I walked through the back street of a hutong in Houhai Beijing I fell victim to the most heinous of dupes. I was approached my three handsome young Chinese Albino men who could all speak perfect English and asked if i liked massages, sensing the opportunities I shared with them my love of massage. As we walked and talked the conversation turned to an ancient chinese massage, whereby the only details that exist of its procedure were found just 3 years ago in a pheasant skin scroll beneath the Forbidden city. Curious I asked more.

    The three young men told me that it involved the gentle massage from the trunk of an elephant. They invited me to their hutong house where, to my disbelief, in the living area an elephant sat eating. They quoted me 75RMB and I willingly obliged. It was at the point they asked me to entirely remove my clothes that I became wary. Once I removed my clothes the elephant was led out of the room. It was at this point that I was raped and robbed. This incident has left my physically and mentally scarred and I would urge anybody that gets offered the elephant massage to leave the area immediately. Involving the police did not help.

  42. admin says:

    Hello Josh Collins,

    Sorry for what has happened! The scam is shocking and disgusting! In China, it is better not to talk to the strangers approaching to you!!

  43. Kylie says:


    I was confused whether the trt medicines i got from 23 Dong An Men Street Dong Cheng District Beijing postal code 100006 is real. I could not locate the store in the trt main website but could find it in google map. It is a huge trt store and looks real. A second look on the pamplet, the email contacts were all yahoo and sohu. I am doubting if it is safe to take the medicine I bought. Can you help to shed some light?

  44. admin says:

    Hello Kylie,

    What you have said is a bit too general that we cannot tell whether your medicine is fake or authentic. For authentification, it is advised that you provide the following information:
    1. Pharmacy name
    2. Add
    3. Phone number
    4. Website.

    Thanks for your message.

  45. Paul says:

    I was bored one winter and went strolling around to find a scammer when 2 girls spotted me near the Forbidden city. They suddenly jumped towards me and wanted to practice their English as we walked. I said ‘fine.’ and off we walked to Tienanmen Square. We walked into the square and the girls were uncomfortable and under dressed to walk in the slush. They went through the routine of questioning to find out what I knew and how long I was in Beijing.

    The punch line finally came when one asked of I have seen the Chinese acrobats. I said I have seen them in my home city. She said they were going to the Acrobats that night and asked if I would like to joint them. I simply said no. She persisted for a while and realized I wasn’t moving on this one and they both trudged off unceremoniously.

    This was a one off but I am sure there are many like this. I carried on and got the typical coffee, tea, restaurant and art student lines, but this acrobat girls was the most memorable.

  46. admin says:

    Hello Paul,

    Thanks for your time posting the story about the two acrobatics girls, which is helpful for the tourists coming to Beijing and avoiding a possible scam. Thanks again!

  47. Zigor says:

    A fresh victim of the tea ceremony scam… (just a couple of hours ago, actually).

    After spending several days in Beijing, saying “no, thanks” to every single Chinese person that approached me, I visited the Forbidden City and asked my (now obviously) unlicensed guide about the intentions of the people that simply go “hello, where are you from?”. She told me that they were just curious and wanted to practice English or take a picture with me. I thought, “ok then”.

    So, when I reach Tiananmen square, a guy approaches me and we talk for a minute or so. Classic tourist chat. Harmless. Then, several minutes after, three women approach me. Older than me, totally unattractive. They were very nice, and we start to talk and walk towards Old Beijing (I was planning to walk that way beforehand). After 30 minutes of walking and talking (at the moment, I was having a great time getting to know these people) they tell me they’re going for a cup of tea and ask me to join them. I figure a cup of tea can’t be that expensive, and join them. We enter a private room, a waitress comes in and they start the whole tea degustation thing. The decoration was very humble, which matches with their alleged incomes and reassures me that it can’t be very expensive…

    Suddenly, they order a bottle of Chinese wine. Same thing as before, it can’t be that expensive right? I was honestly having the time of my life there, thinking to myself: “this is real tourism” (sad, I know). We spent over an hour there, the conversation was honestly interesting and I was showing them pictures of my family and girlfriend! In one word, I surrendered my trust to them. Then the bill came: 4,000 yuan.

    That’s when you realise how stupid you are. I was thinking I was going to pay 1,000 yuan for my part of the bill, but they expect me to pay the full amount. I say no way, this is a rip-off and I’m not paying their part. They con me into paying only half of the total amount. At the time, it was a relief. So I paid 2,000 and they gave me some tea bags and even walked me to the subway station. I was refusing to admit it. It’s one thing to be robbed, it’s a much worse thing to be conned. Hurts your self-esteem.

    Also, I thought about going back to the tea shop, but now I’m glad I didn’t. It’s organised crime…

    I was conned for the first time in many travels, visiting many countries and even some developing countries. It’s really sad and the Chinese government should do something about it. By the way, reading your list, I see that I have been able to avoid other cons, such as the rickshaws at the exit of the Forbidden City.

    Beijing seems unforgiving.

  48. admin says:

    Hello Zigor,

    Thanks for your time writing us your story about how you have been hit by a tea trap. Sorry for the die-hard disgusting crime! We’ve been trying hard to disclose the dirty part of the city of Beijing. There is a long way to go before all these criminal activities can be wiped off. We are still working hard towards the goal.

  49. cheryl says:

    Hello. I just came back from shanghai a few days ago and I bought bottles of medicines from “同仁汉方研发” . I was in a tour group so I thought the medicines are real. I am not so sure now:/

    Pharmacy name: 同仁汉方研发
    销售地址/Address: 北京丰台区宋家庄聲(sorry please replace 耳 with 香)园一区二橦(replace 木 with 巾)1605
    Number: 400-700-7352

    I just checked the website and it doesnt show anything relevant! Can you help me clarify my doubt? Thank you!

  50. admin says:

    Hello Cheryl,

    When you say “I thought the medicines are real”. What do you mean by “real”? Real Chinese medicine? Or real Chinese medicine made by Tongrentang (Chinese: 同仁堂). I don’t know whether the medicines from “同仁汉方研发” is real or not, but I’m sure they are not the Chinese medicine made by the well-known producers of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) in China – Tongrentang (Chinese: 同仁堂).

    Tongrentang, or Tong Ren Tang (Chinese: 同仁堂) is one of the two most well known producers of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) in China: Tangrentang in Beijing ( operating drug stores predominantly in Northern China); Huqingyutang in Hangzhou (operating drug stores predominantly in Southern China). Both are time-honored Chinese pharmaceutical companies founded in Qing Dynasty (1644 – 1911).

    Fake Tongrentang stores are rampant online and offline. The authentic Tongrentang is very much frustrated at so many bogus Tongrentang drug stores, but they have much difficulty in combating them! The official website of Beijing Tongrentang is (Chinese), (English).

    It seems ““同仁汉方研发” is a little bit misleading by using the same name of “同仁” (Tongren) as the famous brand “同仁堂”.

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