Be Aware of Chinese Cons
As the 111th Canton Fair quickly approaching and my recent unfortunate loss of a new Samsung Galaxy Note mobile phone from a pickpocket, had me consider all my experience of conns, loss, and theft in China. As experienced as I am living here for more than a decade, I still get conned.
Everyone knows that the Chinese are very gifted in imitating or copying famous luxury brands from Louis Vuitton bags to whole Apple stores. The imitations have become so good that even the experts are amazed. The Chinese have even gone as far as imitating hot-pot lamb or beef meat with a mixture of plasticizers and cat/rat entrails. You would think you can at least taste the difference right? Well, you can’t.
To tell you the truth, I had no CLUE that the recent Nike Free Hybrid iD Running shoes I purchased from what I thought was a Nike Outlet is in fact a counterfeit in both sense. The irony is that this particular counterfeit is far more comfortable than the Nike pair I brought with me from the US and this knock-off only set me back about 20 dollars. I should have known that the price was too good even for an Outlet store, though I can’t say how long it will last.
Living in China as a foreigner does come with a sense of stigma attached. Unfortunately, the taxi drivers chosen scenic route, the inflated cost of items over locals, the constant banter of street vendors asking you to buy something, can’t be helped. But some things are controllable if you are aware of them.
When my mobile phone was stolen it only took about 5 seconds, by the time I felt what was going on I spotted a small adult or child was running through a crowd with my phone then he passed the phone to another adult which I lost sight of, like a mosquito in a dark background. I felt angry and wanted to kick myself in the buttocks, because I knew better.
There were a lot of people surrounding a street vendor that caught my interest, as I stood there watching what appeared to be a magic puppet dancing in mid-air I needed to solve this riddle because my logical mind demanded it. As I think back in detail I can be certain that the onlookers or at least many participants in the crowd was part of the scam. To my right was a block, two men blocking my view or chase. To my left was a person or persons pushing slightly so that I would’nt feel my Diesel canvas courier bag being sliced by a razor. Then the feel and lift, I’m still awe strucked as to how the pickpocket knew where to look, X-ray vision or very experienced in his craft.
Now, even if you do get pickpocketed just remember you are in a foreign land with questionable legal standards, there may or may not be a GROUP of people that are involved, and finally a razor was involved. See the message, I say it’s just a phone or wallet don’t pursue or things can go bad to worse in a second. The Chinese economy is just starting to feel the pressure of the boiler, there are a few billion people living on expectations of “face” the cons or crimes will not stop, ever. You just have to be cautious of them. Stay tuned for my next article on Canton Fair Buyer Cons.
Remember; keep your passport and valuables in your hotel safe. Take only what you need, keep a copy of your passport in different locations and email yourself a scanned copy. Keep your phone and wallet in your front pocket, wear backpacks towards the front in crowds and public transit systems, call it a chestpack. Don’t fall asleep on the bus, train or subway. Place a 100rmb note in each shoe insole, just in case. Write all pertinent phone numbers like hotel or embassy on a piece of paper and stuff it with the rmb note in your shoe. As you become experienced living in China you can become complacent and forget that bad things can happen.
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