Sanya Restaurants Ripping Off Customers, Fleecing Tourists

Sanya Fleecing Customers Gate.

Sanya meal, 3 dishes and rice.

The seafood stall/restaurant with the sky high prices exposed by 罗迪微博, “3 dishes, 4000 yuan.”

From MSN China:

Sanya Customer Fleecing Gate: 3 Dishes 4000 yuan, one price for locals and one price for tourists

January 28th noon, Sina Weibo verified user “罗迪微博” broke the news of customers being overcharged for seafood for the first time. He posted on weibo, “A friend with his family of three had seafood in Sanya the day before yesterday. Just three ordinary dishes and they were ripped off for nearly 4000 yuan [>635 USD]. He said [the restaurant] was recommended by the taxi driver. A man at a table nearby had just pointed at a fish in a tank to ask about the price when the restaurant employee swiftly fished it out and knocked it unconscious [thereby forcing the customer to purchase it]. Upon weighing it, it was 5.5 kg, and at 1160 RMB per kg [>184 USD per kg], the total price was over 6000 RMB [>952 USD]. Before the man could start arguing, several large Northeastern men came out. He could only stay silent and accept his fate. Never mind the level of customer service, they couldn’t even live up to basic honesty…” At present, this weibo message has already been deleted.

A cartoon showing "Sanya" with a fish head threatening a tourist with a sword demanding 6000 RMB.
A cartoon showing "Sanya" with a fish head threatening a tourist with a sword demanding 6000 RMB.

From NetEase:

Sanya officials say they will legally pursue those making malicious accusation against Sanya

January 31st, with regards to Sanya circulating the tourism situation during the Spring Festival period, the local government earnestly requested that the person who posted on weibo about “being ripped off” come forward and assist in investigations. A relevant official said, “Those who make malicious attacks and accusations against Sanya we be held legally responsible.” The Sanya government at the same time apologized for the “Zero tourist complaints of being overcharged/ripped off during Spring Festival period” statement posted on their official microblog.

Under the plate: "Sanya welcomes you." A fish is slammed onto the plate while a knife reading "6000 RMB per fish" comes down above it. A Sanya government official thinks "Zero complaints!" despite being surrounded by ringing telephones and a computer screen with "Weibo complaint" written on it trying to get his attention.
Under the plate: "Sanya welcomes you." A fish is slammed onto the plate while a knife reading "6000 RMB per fish" comes down above it. A Sanya government official thinks "Zero complaints!" despite a screen monitor with "Weibo complaint" trying to get his attention and being surrounded by ringing telephones.

From NetEase:

Hainan media front page headline: Netizen accusing Sanya of cheating customers come forward

January 31st, the Sanya government Information Office held a press conference over this customer fleecing incident, responding that the Fulinyucun seafood restaurant “customer fleecing” incident, because there was a lack of more precise evidence, the investigation of the case has run into major difficulties. Presently unable to get in touch with the netizen who exposed this matter, they hope those involved can come forward and provide relevant evidence. Hainan local media front page headlines asking that the netizen “come forward”.

Hainan newspaper front page headline asks netizen who accused Sanya of ripping off customers to come forward.

From NetEase:

Sanya Municipal Party Secretary apologizes for “Customer Fleecing Gate”

February 1st, Sanya city Party Secretary Wei Jiang Sixian apologized for the local “customer overcharging” phenomenon. He expressed that there indeed exists certain rotten apples in Sanya, will adopt a zero tolerance attitude towards incidents of customer fleecing, and conduct a serious investigation. At the same time, there have been an unending stream of netizens sharing exorbitantly high restaurant bills. [A netizen] “黑人光辉” posted on weibo posted a restaurant bill that only had 7 seafood dishes but came out to be 9746 yuan [~1547 USD].

A shocking Sanya restaurant bill totallying 9746 RMB (~1547 USD).

From NetEase:

Netizen shares near 10,000 RMB bill from eating seafood in Sanya

After the Sanya city government department stated it has not yet found clear evidence of seafood stalls/restaurants overcharging customers, netizens started sharing their experiences of being ripped off. February 1st, a netizen named “黑人光辉” shared a seafood bill of 9746 yuan, while the restaurant involved denies having issued such a bill. The netizen Mr. Gao who ignited the Sanya customer overcharging controversy has expressed that he doesn’t want to be disturbed and has refused interviews.

A desolate Sanya seafood stall restaurant following "Customer Fleecing Gate".

After the “Customer Fleecing Gate” incident was publicized, Sanya’s seafood stalls are desolate.

Comments from NetEase:

chen4996 [网易法国网友]:

You say show your receipts. When there isn’t any, you make a fuss. Now there are people who have shown their receipts and the restaurant actually dares to deny it… fucking just how black [corrupt] has Sanya become…

我用脚投票 [网易加拿大网友]:

Been to Sanya twice, both times I’ve experienced being overcharged, though in different ways. May I ask the relevant departments of Sanya: Are you all living in a vacuum? Or are you involved [in ripping off tourists]?

鄂莫瑞肯 [网易美国网友]:

Maybe I’ve lived abroad for too long, just looking at that handwritten receipt/bill makes me angry. A bill of nearly 10,000 RMB, written by hand, management definitely didn’t do their jobs. All that tax, was it all fed to the dogs?

苍天右眼 [网易中国网友]:

If one person making the accusation is so-called maliciously attacking [Sanya people] and now there are so many netizens standing forward saying they’ve been ripped off, is everyone all maliciously attacking? The eyes of the masses are clear. When there is a problem, it is best to proactively go solve it, and provide everyone an explanation/result! Don’t become more and more corrupt!

南海渔民 [网易新西兰网友]:

Hainan is saying the entire country’s people are lying. The people there from the LD to the petty criminals sure are exemplars of morality!

干活呢 [网易美国网友]:

Keep digging… Fucking who were the ones who fostered this social ill… Behind this black curtain…just who is the biggest beneficiary… Are the local government departments all eating shit? …Back when packaging Hainan as a tourist resort… did you all just turn a blind eye to this, even think of tourists as money trees? So short-sighted… short-sighted rural economy… Were those leadership books all read for naught? …Fly by night operators [choosing to rip people off once instead of counting on repeat business]… the peasants may be uneducated/uncivilized…but you guys are fucking also uneducated/uncivilized!


This kind of evil is not something that only exists now! I was ripped off before when I went 10 years ago. That’s why now I would rather go to an island outside the country! When calculated, its even cheaper!

Comments from Sina Weibo:


Forget Sanya, I don’t even want to go to Hainan anymore… I used to only hear that some tour companies wanted the locals to help them overcharge people, I never thought it would reach this level where people are being ripped off indiscriminately!


Those Sanya restaurants ripping off customers are shameful! Those government departments are even more shameful! Instead of quickly wiping their butts [solving the problem], they argue demanding evidence! I’ve seen shameless people, but I’ve never seen people as shameless as you guy!


Recently I’ve often seen the media report on Sanya restaurants overcharging tourists, the prices being even blacker than a crow. Better bring your own food if going to Sanya again in the future, because you can’t afford to eat there!!!


Doesn’t matter if this bill is real or fake, the situation of customers being ripped off in Sanya is indeed severe… Sanya’s government is at the same time corrupt and incompetent!!!


[弱][弱][弱] With so many both beautiful and cheap islands outside the country, there’s really no need to go to Sanya!


Hehe, how many people have gone to Sanya without being overcharged for seafood!? Every time I go I am fleeced, but I still have to acknowledge the beauty of their scenery.


Not to be taken as evidence [of Hainan people’s characters]… Those who are ripping off customers in Sanya are all wai di ren… Hainan people aren’t as treacherous as you all think…


No one wants to see this kind of thing happen! But none of us can stop it! China is doomed to be ruined at the hands of corrupt officials!


A lot of those running shops/restaurants there aren’t local Hainan people… including the bosses of hotels and developers. We can only say that a lot of people from elsewhere have exploited Hainan and ruined the reputation of Hainan people.


Sanya, what’s happened to you? It’s all caused by those Northeasterners being up to no good.


If this place were to become an international tourist island, wouldn’t that just be embarrassing China in front of foreigners? Such a lousy [local] government has truly made this beautiful piece of land dirty.


No matter how good Sanya’s scenery is, if the quality of the people are like this, I’d rather vacation abroad than go to Sanya.

Have you ever been to Sanya in Hainan? Have you been fleeced there before?


Written by Fauna

Fauna is a mysterious young Shanghainese girl who lives in the only place a Shanghainese person would ever want to live: Shanghai. In mid-2008, she started chinaSMACK to combine her hobby of browsing Chinese internet forums with her goal of improving her English. Through her tireless translation of popular Chinese internet news and phenomenon, her English has apparently gotten dramatically better. At least, reading and writing-wise. Unfortunately, she's still not confident enough to have written this bio, about herself, by herself.


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