Street photo scam in Sanlitun - China society and culture news from May 2, 2017 - SupChina
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Street photo scam in Sanlitun – China society and culture news from May 2, 2017


Scammers in Sanlitun, a popular shopping and nightlife area in Beijing, are posing as talent scouts, targeting young women who dream of becoming models, the Beijing News reports (in Chinese). The con artists usually begin by complimenting girls on their looks or style, and ask to take street snaps of them. After getting their phone numbers, the fake talent agencies then constantly call the girls, persuading them to pay for photo shoots, cosmetics, and magazine exposure, with the promise of part-time modeling jobs.

The journalists who wrote the exposé infiltrated one of the fake talent agencies and asked how they select their targets. One staff member answered, “Good-looking and rich girls. You just observe if they are carrying luxury bags or wearing branded clothes.” Another staff member added, “It doesn’t matter if the girl looks pretty or not, as long as she looks rich.”

More than 16 people have reported similar cases to the Beijing police, who have started investigating the scam.


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Jiayun Feng

Jiayun was born in Shanghai, where she spent her first 20 years and earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism at Fudan University. Interested in writing for a global audience, she attended the NYU Graduate School of Journalism for its Global & Joint Program Studies, which allowed her to pursue a journalism career along with her interest in international relations. She has previously interned for Sixth Tone and Shanghai Daily.