Bars, massage joints in Japan, China cheat Koreans

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Bars, massage joints in Japan, China cheat Koreans

The Financial Supervisory Service warned Korean travelers of ripoff artists in China and Japan who overcharge Korean tourists at massage parlors and bars.

The financial watchdog said Wednesday it received several complaints from travelers who said they were forced to charge large amounts at the establishments on their credit cards. There were two confirmed cases in Shanghai last year and one in Tokyo.

Mr. Kim, who traveled to Shanghai last July, said he got robbed of about 2.5 million won by a massage parlor there. He initially paid cash for his massage, but the masseuses demanded more money. When Kim refused, four Chinese staffers forcibly took his credit card from his wallet and charged 15,000 yuan ($2,413) without his agreement.

In December, Mr. Park experienced a similar case in Japan. After drinking at a bar in Tokyo, he was charged a total of 9 million won. Mr. Park said he was drunk when he left the bar and couldn’t stop thuggish staffers from demanding his credit card and swiping his card four times.

The FSS said travelers should be aware of such nasty practices while traveling abroad.

“Card companies such as Visa and Master Card don’t have compensation measures for such cases,” it said. “When such disputes occur in other countries, we have to follow the foreign cards’ rules.”

And often the Korean travelers can’t prove they were ripped off after they get home.

Card companies take responsibility for charges on stolen or missing cards made within 60 days of its loss.

But charges made without cardholders’ signatures aren’t always fully compensated.

“Downtown areas in Shanghai like Nanjing Road, Jingansi and Xintandi are places where tourists need to be cautious,” said an FSS official.

BY SONG SU-HYUN [ssh@joongang.co.kr]

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