Threatened with my life and ripped off after Shanghai massage

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  • #874 Reply


    One night during our stay in Shanghai, I was walking down Nanjing Road, just to get some fresh air after a small argument with my girlfriend, when a lady asked me if I was interested in a massage. She had all kinds of massages on offer: normal massages, foot massages and “special massages”. I was only interested in a normal back and shoulder massage, to relieve some of the stress of traveling together, so that’s what I told her.
    That was fine, so I followed her into a building in a small back alley nearby, where five Chinese girls were awaiting us. I started to feel a bit uneasy and indicated again that I didn’t want a sex-massage, just a normal back massage. “No problem”, was the answer again. The price was 50 Yuan ($ 9 Canadian) for half an hour.
    The massage lady started with my shoulders and soon asked me to take off my jeans, which I declined, and told her again to just massage my shoulders and back. But she kept urging me to take off my jeans, even offering me a free hand job, until I became so agitated that I told her I wanted to leave. I started to get dressed and gave her the 50 Yuan, even though I hadn’t been in there for more than 10 minutes.
    Then all of a sudden a man walked in, introducing himself as the manager, and informed me that I had to pay for the room rental as well. I objected, telling him I already had paid and that I hadn’t been informed of any extra charges beforehand. Another man came in to block the exit, when the manager handed me a bill for 19.350 Yuan ($ 3,500 Canadian)! I told him this was outrageous, why on earth would I pay this kind of money, even if I had it on me? But he became very aggressive, threatening me “This is not America, this is Shanghai! These are our rules, and people get killed for this!”
    It scared the hell out of me, and I told him I simply didn’t have that much money on me. I showed him my wallet, which was a mistake because that’s when he noticed my Mastercard. He told me to hand it over, again threatening me with my life. The man blocking the door gave my card to someone outside, and a minute later there was a knock on the door.
    My card and the receipt were handed back over and I was told to sign it, twice. They checked my signature carefully and then let me walk out the door, scared shitless and out of more than our holiday budget. I went back to the hotel, where I first got another scolding from my girlfriend and then reported the extortion and threats to the police. They told me there was not much they could do, as I had no proof any of these events had happened. I also called my credit card agency to block the payment and explained what had happened. Unfortunately, the payment had already gone through and because I had signed, a refund request was unlikely to be successful. The only shot I had was to file a fraudulent charge complaint, but that’s still being processed.

  • #879 Reply


    Hi Jonas,
    thanks for being brave enough to make your story public. I sincerely hope you can work things out with your credit card company, and I’m sure they’ll have dealt with this kind of complaint before. In fact, the reason why they charged you just under 20,000 Yuan is because this is the maximum amount a CC company will accept in Shanghai.

  • #5381 Reply


    same thing happened to me. they took cash from my wallet and used my card but luckily i had put limit on my card they deducted 9000 yuan. later i complained in bank of fradulent use and got refund in 14 days. Be Careful in Shanghai. The worst city I have ever been.

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