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[Travel] Chinese Rickshaw Scams

Discussion in 'BBS Hangout' started by rocketsjudoka, Sep 10, 2016.

  1. rocketsjudoka

    rocketsjudoka Contributing Member

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    I just got back to the US from a trip to Hong Kong and China and wanted to warn people thinking about going there about a potential scam.

    BEWARE OF CHINESE RICKSHAW SCAMS! SHARE WITH ANYONE WHO IS PLANNING ON GOING TO BEIJING
    Beijing has great history with many incredible sites but it also has tons of scams. One of the biggest is the rickshaw / Tuk Tuk scam that unfortunately I got hit with. For those who don't know a rickshaw (called Tuk Tuk in some places) is a small vehicle pulled by either a bike, or small three wheeled car or motorized tricycle. These are especially prevalent near the major tourist sites such as Tianmen Square, Forbidden City, and Temple of Heaven. Often drivers will advertize taking people to other tourist spots or to tour Hutongs (traditional neighborhoods). Many of these are scams and particularly avoid the open red ones pulled by motorized tricycles working around the Forbidden City!

    Avoid them if you can and instead either walk or take official taxis (in Beijing they are yellow, brown and green). Here is the way the scam works. They quote you one price and then they take you someplace off the beaten path where they will then say the price is different, several times the original price, they will then keep you there until you pay.

    In my case on the last day I was there I was pressed for time and really wanted to go see the National Museum. I needed to get from where I was staying just north of the Forbidden city to the Museum just east of Tiananment, about a 20 minute walk. Since I was pressed for time I took one of these. I asked for the price in advance and it was cheap, which I though was due to that it wasn;t that far. The driver had me switch to a different rickshaw about a block away saying that guy was the fastest driver. He headed in the right direction so wasn't too suspicious near Tiananmen though he turned into a Hutong and then stopped at an alley with a gate at the far end. I knew at that point that I was being scammed. He said the price was a hundred times what was originally quoted and produced a card in english listing the high price, a card that had never been shown earlier. There were a couple of other guys waiting at the alley who said the high price was the right price. I told them I didn't have that much money and they had tricked me but being outnumbered, in their neighborhood in a foreign country there wasn't much choice. I ended up paying them and they let me go. I was only a couple of minutes walk from the museum but this clearly an organized scam that these guys have pulled off before and will again.

    There's pretty much nothing I can do about this since the Beijing police will do nothing petty crimes like this and might even take the side of the scammers. At least I can get the word out so hopefully others won't get taken in and also deprive these guys the opportunity to scam other visitors.
     
  2. bobrek

    bobrek Person, woman, man, camera, TV
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    Was it these guys?

    [​IMG]
     
  3. Duncan McDonuts

    Duncan McDonuts Contributing Member

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    I thought those rickshaw scams were pretty common knowledge. Sorry you got scammed, though.
     
  4. rocketsjudoka

    rocketsjudoka Contributing Member

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    Yeah it was partly my fault and would not have taken one if not in such a hurry. My mom had taken one of the closed three wheelers a few days earlier and hadn't been scammed so that had let my guard down. I should've been suspicious right away when the initial agreed upon price was low. In most cases like these and with black cabs they start with a high price and then negotiate down. Once the guy started with a low price I should've been suspicious. I'm a frequent traveler and besides this the only time I've been shaken down is by Indonesian police. I'm frankly embarrassed by this but at least others can learn from my example.
     
  5. ItsMyFault

    ItsMyFault Contributing Member

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    lol Classic.
     
  6. FranchiseBlade

    FranchiseBlade Contributing Member
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    Definitely frustrating and not a pleasant side of any place you are visiting.
     
  7. Ace

    Ace Contributing Member

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    Sorry that happened. Thanks for the tip.

    What did the Indonesian police do?

    What always annoys me is having to pay police for random 'traffic offenses' - pay them a bit less and you're on your way. Always happens in Latin America.
     
  8. Bandwagoner

    Bandwagoner Contributing Member

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    Extremely common in big Chinese cities targeting tourist heavy destinations.
     
  9. Mr. Brightside

    Mr. Brightside Contributing Member

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    rocketsjudoka, I thought you were a trained martial artist?
     
  10. Duncan McDonuts

    Duncan McDonuts Contributing Member

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    But being in China, he was still outnumbered by numerous rickshaw cabbies who also know kung fu.
     
  11. Buck Turgidson

    Buck Turgidson Mineshaft Enthusiast

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    Yeah, but they would have attacked him one at a time.
     
  12. bigtexxx

    bigtexxx Contributing Member

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    That's China for ya.
     
  13. Dei

    Dei Member

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    Thanks. Won't go to China or just stay in Hong Kong.
     
  14. PhiSlammaJamma

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    I could see myself falling for that scam. I mean I trust that the horse drawn carriages in Philly will take me to my destination and not into the darker parts of the city. How would you know. A cab could do the same thing, see the Bone Collector.
     
  15. Jontro

    Jontro Member

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    Thank God I didn't do anything like that when I was in China as we had a guide appointed by the governmet. I probably got robbed in the shopping market tho.
     
  16. hotballa

    hotballa Contributing Member

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    When we went to Beijing, we specifically hired a taxi from the hotel to drive us around all day because we were afraid of being scammed. in fairness to China though, I think this is a pretty common tourist scam in most places
     
  17. pippendagimp

    pippendagimp Member

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    another thing u have to worry about there is receiving counterfeit currency when you get your change back. this happened to me in beijing. but i ended up just using it to pay this taxi driver who played a somewhat similar scam on me like what happened to the OP. i'll never forget how happy he looked when he *thought* he was getting 5x the normal fare for a ride to the airport :)
     
  18. DonkeyMagic

    DonkeyMagic Contributing Member
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    It can be sketchy. Luckily we had a designated driver most the time but one day we went to the silk market and when we left it was like a feeding frenzy with non official cabbies almost pushing us into cabs.
     
  19. RudyTBag

    RudyTBag Contributing Member

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    (China is a super fun place to visit)
     
  20. peleincubus

    peleincubus Member

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    After I went through (several years ago now) The Forbidden City me and a guy I randomly met while touring it was actually staying at the hostel I was at. We split the price to get back. I knew about the scams these guys try to pull. I'm not sure why we trusted this particular one. We probably just lucked out and got to our destination quickly and cheaply.

    Beijing was a really cool city to visit. It's one of the very last places I would ever live in though. Seemed extremely depressing there.

    A side note. I got yelled at and cussed at by some (i think) Croatian chick for meeting a girl at the hostel I was at and sleeping in her bed in a all girls room. Worth it though ;)
     

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