A Few Popular Scams in Hong Kong
With the city inviting over 50 million tourists a year, Hong Kong is a perfect place for scammers to apply their trade.
This city is known as a Free Trade Paradise and scam artists galore flock to the city to take advantage of unsuspecting tourists! If you are simply stopping over on route to or from your intended destination as we did last year or you plan on spending several days in this bustling city, then you should familiarize yourself with a few of the more common scams.
Scams in Hong Kong You Should Know
Shopping Scams Everywhere
Who doesn’t go to Hong Kong and not take advantage of the great shopping available to visitors. This is without a doubt, one of the biggest scams that tourists get taken for. As we discovered in Thailand, you can be guaranteed to find counterfeit goods and designer knockoffs for sale everywhere.
Mong Kok Shopping district is very popular for locals and visitors. It is commonly referred to as the Counterfeit Goods and Electronics District. A wonderful place to experience but do be careful of what you are purchasing unless the real thing is not that important to you. Great bargains on knockoffs if that is what you are looking for, if not, check with your hotel staff or other reputable and trustworthy professionals for the best place to purchase authentic items without being scammed!
The Bait and Switch Shopping Scam is huge world-wide and something everyone should be aware of when out shopping in other countries.
Always check your item placed into the bag prior to leaving the check-out counter in the store. For example, you purchase an expensive watch of a particular model and shop keepers will commonly head into the back room to grab the item, returning with an older or outdated model without you knowing.
This is especially common for those stopping briefly on tours, buses, transfers and so on, where returning to the store is impossible.
You have been scammed!
Scams In Hong Kong – Antique Shoppers Beware
Many visitors flock to the Big Antique Marketplace also known as Cat Street Market for what they think are old antiques from years gone by. In fact, the majority of items for sale in this marketplace are fakes and simply cheap items assembled in Mainland China, made to look old.
Common sense folks!!
Still, do not let this deter you from visiting and experiencing these markets and purchasing a trinket or two to take home. It’s all part of the fun and enjoyment of the Hong Kong experience.
Scams In Hong Kong – Beware of Fake Monks
One other fairly popular scam you may encounter during your visit is the presence of fake Buddhist monks walking about tourist areas asking for donations. Do not be fooled by these individuals just because they are dressed and look like monks, they are not!
They can be arrested on site. Even for a few dollars, do not give these people any money, as it will only encourage them to continue to scam others and perhaps those more sympathetic people who will get scammed for large amounts of money!
Nightlife in Hong Kong
The nightlife is a huge money making industry in the city and where many tourists flock to in the evening hours, particularly younger male adults.
The Wan Chai neighborhood is perhaps the most popular and filled with nightclubs, prostitution and other activities for visitors to experience. This is perhaps the most dangerous for tourists and where one should exercise extreme caution at all times. Most clubs and other related activities are all controlled and run by serious Gangs and scams run rampant in these areas.
As in most areas of the world, it’s great to enjoy the nightlife, but if you are traveling alone and visiting these places, do keep in mind that you are a target for scammers.
A very common scam and dangerous one at that is with Lady-Boy prostitutes who prey on males.
They first entice you into targeted bars, dance, and drink and feed them all at your expense for the evening. It is not uncommon for them to have their prey purchase clothes and much more afterwards and sometimes even days later, using blackmail and extortion in extreme cases.
So a word to the wise, be careful and try to visit these areas in groups, using caution and common sense at all times! Just a few things for visitors to be aware of when visiting this beautiful city that never sleeps!
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