Massage scam and blackmail

This scam involves ladies offering full body massages to male tourists on the streets of Shanghai, especially near tourist hotspots. Although this may seem tempting at first, beware that it is extremely dangerous and could quickly become phenomenally expensive to do so. These ladies take their victim through a dark back alley into a building, where he is led into a small room for his massage.

Shanghai-massage-scam-extortionHe can even pick out the girl of his preference from a line-up of beautiful Chinese ladies, but as soon as the body massage has started, the girl will start seducing her victim into accepting a happy end. She can be very pervasive, and if the customer refuses at first, some even offer the happy end at no extra charge. The reason for this offer is shocking: Be warned that solicitation is illegal in China, and the scammers use this law to extort their victim after he has accepted and received the happy end.

Also read: Threatened with my life and ripped off after Shanghai massage

After the massage and the payment to the girl, the real swindler, who is a member of the Shanghai Mafia, will enter the room, pretending to be the manager and asking you to pay rent for the room as well. At that moment the unsuspecting tourist will realize he’s being ripped off, as the “room rent” is extraordinary expensive. Shanghai-massage-scam-blackmailIt usually comes to just under 20.000 Yuan which roughly translates to € 2.300,- / US$ 3,200 / £ 1,900. The reason for this sum is because it is the maximum that a credit card company will accept in Shanghai. A huge and threatening bouncer will have blocked the exit of the room by that time, eliminating the option of simply fleeing the scene.

If the victim resists payment, he runs the risk of being threatened to death, and they will make it very clear that going to the police is not an option, and the only way out is to just pay up, or the threaten with warning the police themselves to tell them you’ve just broken the law.

If you’d like a massage when in Shanghai, visit an official massage parlor and don’t accept any offers from ladies approaching you on the street. And if “extra services” are offered, don’t succumb to the temptation no matter how convincing she may be. Don’t accept even hand job, because as soon as you’ve taken off your trousers, you’re vulnerable to blackmail and extortion, which will cost you more than you can imagine.

Find experiences from real victims or post your own story in our Shanghai and China Tourist Scams Forum.


  1. Be careful and refuse the street offer of a massage in Shanghai. (Nanjing Road East) I had this problem. It’s a scam. And you’ll have very hard troubles.

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