1,000 Chinese international students extorted

On Monday, Fairfax reported that around 1,000 Chinese international students studying in Australia have fallen victim to extortion by Chinese criminal syndicates:

Chinese students are being forced to pretend they’ve been kidnapped, taking photos of themselves bound and gagged, in an alarming scam sweeping the country.

Almost 1000 people have reported falling victim to scams targeting the Chinese community so far this year, with losses totalling more than $1.5 million…

Victims of the scam are told they’ve been involved in criminal activity. Fraudsters then threaten them with criminal sanctions unless they comply with their demands. Scammers then use the photos to extort money from the students’ families…

Henry Foo, a 24-year-old IT graduate living in Melbourne, received a call from what he was told was the Chinese embassy in Sydney. He was told a package with his name on it had been intercepted and 70 fake credit cards were inside…

“They kept on saying if I don’t co-operate with them they are going to take me back to Beijing and lock me up,” Mr Foo told The Age.

Several commenters identified the bigger issue here: the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) iron hold over the Chinese diaspora:


There’s a bigger scam than all of this. It’s called Chinese Communist Party.

Propaganda is their main tool and the extradition threat is real.


“They kept on saying if I don’t co-operate with them they are going to take me back to Beijing and lock me up,” Mr Foo told The Age.

“I thought this was real. I was terrified. They told me I couldn’t tell anyone, not even my parents.”

Little wonder he felt terrified. The instances of Chinese citizens “disappearing” from some countries only to reappear (if they reappear at all) in Chinese courts or under arrest in China have been well documented.

What this story doesn’t mention at all, which is pretty disconcerting, is any arrests made in any of these cases.


This is a problem when you have a government of absolutely authority. Chinese people don’t question scams like this cause it isn’t a far stretch of the imagination that the Chinese government uses similar tactics of standing over its citizens.


Chinese people expect their government’s control to reach everywhere.

The Chinese government treats people of Chinese ethnicity as Chinese regardless of where they are from. Take notice next time an Australian businessman gets arrested in China. They are almost always of Chinese ethnicity.


This particular scam is very much just a “Chinese problem”. The scammers speak Chinese, target Chinese students exclusively, and play on fear of extradition to face an authoritarian and somewhat arbitrary Chinese justice system.

All make excellent points. The Chinese diaspora are fearful of the perceived ‘unlimited power’ and corruption of the Chinese authorities, and believe that money can make the problems go away. This makes them easy targets for criminal syndicates to extort by impersonating CCP cronies.

These Chinese students may also feel reluctant to report any wrong doing because they are concerned that doing so could adversely impact their visa status as well as create repercussions for their families back home.

In any event, it is more an insight into the CCP’s dictatorial influence over its diaspora than the actual extortion by rogue criminals.

Leith van Onselen


  1. I must admit I’m having some difficulty mustering any sympathy for Mr Foo et al, given that most of them are probably scammers here doing fake “studies” to work and obtain PR.

    • Stewie GriffinMEMBER

      Hear, hear!

      What we need are some Chinese speaking police, who have been trained in Australian’s Multicultural sensitivities, plus probably a few Chinese interpreters too, so that everything can be documented appropriately and we can be sure that nothing is getting lost in translation (just to be sure the statements should be made in triplicate – Chinese, English and Esperanto).

      See this Multiculturalism is awesome – when previously we could have just sent out one Aussie copper, now we need to specifically hire a Chinese cop, some cultural diversity officers and a couple translators – Aussie ingenuity and bullshyt job creation at work…. doesn’t do much for our productivity, but hey, who gives a phuck about that anymore?

      Stronger and more united.

        • Stewie GriffinMEMBER

          Se ni celas maksimumigi diversecon, Esperanto havas perfektan sencon.

          Nur pensu pri ĉiuj kromaj laboristoj bezonataj.

          Pli forta kaj pli unuiĝinta.

      • Good idea.

        Along with those Chinese police, we should also import some Chinese judges and executioners.

        The triplicate documentation is genius. Many years from now, Chinese archaeologist operating in the Great Southern Quarry Province will find one of these documents. And it will be the latter-day Rosetta Stone, which will enable them to decode and understand the long-lost English language.

      • I too share a similar sentiment, Australia needs to tolerate honour killings.

        If Muslims are killing their daughters because of the shame and loss of esteem to the family, who are we to say this is wrong?

        I mean, when you think about it, it really is a feminist viewpoint. Killing a child due to the inconvenience it brings the family…. looking at it, it really is nothing more than really late, late, late…. late ……. term abortion.

  2. We doing scammer crime reports on here now?
    Scammers target the vulnerable, usually the elderly, but foreigners are also a prime target obviously.

  3. Obviously, the only thing we can do is bring all their families over here, to protect these students from this type of scam.

  4. Hmmm Chinese extorting money form other Chinese…that’s a rather Chinese thing to do!
    Just not sure why it is our problem.

    • John Howards Bowling Coach

      I would agree except that would mean excusing these scambags from running their criminal operation in our our nation, that is not acceptable. Perhaps an extradition treaty with China is not actually such a bad idea. Imagine how quickly the immigration would stop and how many would flee overnight before they get grabbed.

      • I don’t disagree with your sentiment but you live in a funny world if you believe that your opinion matters when it comes to the morality or execution of.such matters between two or more Chinese (or even ethnically Chinese).
        A lot of these Extortion plays are laughable, they call you from China and send blurred pictures / video of some kid tied to a chair screaming mummy help me…or something similar and than say they want you to transfer $xxK to some account within the hour. In most cases it’s not even your kid just a good (and often not even good) photoshop job.
        I’ve had them call me and send video of an ethnically Chinese kid and threaten to harm the kid (when my kids are Caucasian) , laughably bad! I even got into an argument with the guy…that’s not my kid …yes it is…..no it isn’t …yes it is, I hung up twice before he figured out that I wasn’t falling for it.

        It’ll be game on when they expand their reach to include believable western kids and start using modern day face changers in real time video but until that happens it’ll remain an annoying thing that Chinese do to scam other Chinese.

        • John Howards Bowling Coach

          fisho while I agree with you regarding the irrelevance of my own morality I think you prove my other thought by showing that they will expand from cheating their own people to anyone that can. I take the Chinese view on this. They hate any foreigner making money in their backyard and I hate them making money in ours. It should be some enterprising young Aussie crims scamming them, not foreigners as I hate to see their money expatriated, we want it here 😉

          We’ve come so far from the days when I would see the banner ‘stop the Asian invasion’ spraypainted in the streets of the grungy inner suburbs. It’s too late now, we’ve ushered them in ourselves, but we could at least have the disenfranchised youth protest it, if we could get them interested in their own futures that is…

  5. Ha Ha! So we are going to give these tards a toilet paper degree and PR. Here have some mega debt to buy a flammable dog box in the sky and a gig-ecomony slave wage job to never pay it off. How good is Straya!

  6. Another reason to not send Chinese students to study here is great news, and should help reduce the numbers a bit. Now we just need something nasty in the news to ward off the Indians as their student visa numbers are going to the moon.

  7. John Howards Bowling Coach

    The reality is that in order to afford to study here the majority of the Chinese students here (and those who now have a Visa) are from families that are criminal in some form or another, be it corrupt practices to run a private business or receiving bribes in a government role or now quite common to be an employee stealing from their employer. The students have some level of knowledge of how their life here is funded and they know the parents hope to have them get a Visa to anchor the family outside of China to channel the money out of China. So they are obvious targets for extortion and they will stay silent because they likely feel their is a lot of truth to the extortion case or they fear being caught either by the local authorities who might discover they are from poor character background as a migrant candidate, or by the Chinese authorities who will lock up some members of the family and worse, probably recover the wealth they have amassed from crime (Chinese would rather go to jail than give up a $dollar).

    Another potential reality is that these extortion scams are run in coordination from the Chinese government through the local consulate staff and are targeting the families of the students back in China who they know have ill gotten gains. Yes that sounds like a crazy anti Chinese thought, but I have seen so many high level scams run on the outside world by the Chinese government over the last 20 years that I know they have the moral capacity to be doing this.

    • Yes, yes. And when you ask them what business they’re in it’s hotel supplies – shampoos, personal products etc!!

      Aka casino crooks and/or on the Government take.