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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Jĭnfáng (Beware) ! : ESL-China Blacklist

Those intending to do ESL/EFL in China need to be aware of frauds and cheats who have already victimized a lot of teachers from the Philippines and other countries.  For inquiries on legit teaching jobs in China I recommend Dave Sperling's site. Here's an "ESL Blacklist" compiled by some of my former co-teachers in China:

Chinese recruiters of Huali Education based in Hefei, Anhui Province:

Their various aliases and institutional names include: ESL Recruiters in China, Jiangsu ESL, SALL Education, Mary Brown, Sally Wan, Maggie and Sandy, English Education Direct, English Teachers China

Their web sites:, and

Their email addresses include:,,,,,,,,,,,,,,    jtt6×,,,,

They post a multitude of job offers under a multitude of aliases. Sometimes they copy the job offers of well known web sites or recruiters and just change the name of the school at the top and their email address (even leaving some details of the original job offer remaining in the text).

They use fake or “borrowed” resumes, with pictures of beautiful blond teachers, and add their own email addresses so that Chinese schools - their prospective customers - unknowingly write to them thinking they are responding to a teacher’s resume. They do this repeatedly on multiple ESL websites.

When confronted with their behavior, they just laugh (they really seem to find it funny and to find themselves very smart), or they attack and accuse as a way of defending themselves.

Schools, Cities and Provinces they promote include: Zhejiang, Anhui, Jiangxi, Shandong, Hebei, Changzhou City, Zibo City, Rongcheng City, Changsha City, Nanchang City, Qingzhou City, Guangxi Tianjin, Jilin, Shanghai, Taishan, Shandong English School, Jiangsu Middle School, Shuangyashan, Tan’an International school (also Taian), Zhejiang Wenling Middle School

Their telephone numbers include: 86.551 3612-211 86.551 3612-470 86-551-5317-593 86-551-5317-382

Chinese recruiter Alin Buuer aka Frank Zhang &

The man’s various aliases include: James Zhang, Frank Zhang, Dragon Zhang, Alin Buuer, and many other names with the surname Zhang.

Chinese recruiter Huapu Education Group: Xuhui District, Shanghai

Main websites:,,

- Main Company Names:  Chinese Campus Online, Shanghai Longman English, Success Company,  English Success Company

- Main email addresses:,,,

Phone Number given:   021-64274821

They probably learned of me through an ESL forum, and I received this come-on:

“We are very interested in your rich teaching experience and our center belongs to one of most famous education groups in China. Could you please send us your detailed CV including contact number? …… we can sign the contract right now.”

And of course I haven’t heard from them since, which means they are likely out selling my services somewhere."

Also, avoid a man calling himself Zhou Qiming. He has aliases of Walter and Bob, and is a shill for the above websites (and possibly others).  He has contacted me several times under different names, and in one case he had hijacked the username and ID of a person on another large ESL site, and was using that method to send emails.

He contacted me with a contract for the Shanghai Jin Hua Private Middle School, offering a MAXIMUM of 15 - 45-minute teaching sessions per week for 10,000 RMB per month, with a free two-bedroom apartment less than 0.5 Km from the school, all Chinese AND American holidays paid, both summer and winter holidays, paid air fare, computer & printer, free ADSL Internet, etc. His ploy was that he was a teacher already operating under this contract, and could help me get the same deal at the same school.  And he referred me to the websites above.  When I didn’t contact them, they contacted me.

Among other ploys, he also pretends to be a disinterested outside party (who somehow learned that you want a job), recommending ‘very good’ ESL recruiters (names given as above) that want to ‘hair’ (sic) foreign teachers, and says “I hope I can make you friend.”

Chinese recruiterWilliam” of Beijing

- E-mail addresses:,,,

Here is one teacher’s current experience (September 9, 2005):

“I asked him to find a public school for me. He called soon after, saying that he had found a public middle school which provides paid winter and summer holidays and a three-room flat. In fact, it was a private training centre in a dirty building. The owners placed me in a filthy two-star hotel. I was supposed to sign a contract with them next day.”

Here’s another:

My husband and I accepted a job in Qingdao through William 3 weeks ago and in the contract we were promised a 2 bedroom off campus apartment with kitchen, high speed internet etc.  When we arrived at the school they put us in 2 dorm rooms at the school. There is no kitchen, telephone, internet, etc.  There are 2 washing machines that have to be shared with other staff and students.  The internet connection at the school is a joke and is only available from 8am -4pm. (there are no computers in our office anyway.)

We specifically told William that we wanted an independent apartment with a kitchen as we like to be free and cook our own food and he assured us that this was no problem.  But as I said before there is no kitchen and the school has an 11pm curfew.

The contract William gave us was not the school contract; the conditions were very very different; they tried to make us sign it but we wouldn’t.  We also asked William if there were any office hours and he said no, but then the school contract stated you have to be there from 8am-4pm.  All in all the man is a liar and cannot be trusted.

William changed most of his e-mail addresses.  These are the new ones:

There are 5-6 young Chinese girls (very naive ones) working in his office.  Every teacher is supposed to get a flat with two bedrooms and a computer with free 24-hour internet access  (it doesn`t matter where the province or school is).  The truth is, they have never checked these flats.  All their ads start like this: “Our school is in…”

Chinese recruiter Yakup International/China Talents

This is a serious one. Everyone (especially young single women) must avoid this dangerous group.

There is some evidence that he is also currently running a scam with “SYS Education” in Beijing, recruiting foreign teachers to teach Business English, but not paying them.   Someone said he’d been sent to jail, but he’s still operating out of Beijing; there are many posts on the internet made in Sept. 2005.

Yakup International
Suite 2706/ No. 426 Building, (or Suite 1002, 1106 and 1310 No. 418 Building)
Wangjing West Garden, Chaoyang District, Beijing, 100102
Tel: 8610-6474 4641, 6470 3913
Fax: 8610-6470 3913

Yakup claims to be a medical doctor and to have attended the London School of Economics, but there seems to be adequate documentation that he is not an M.D. and that he never dd attend LSE, although he apparently does have a Ph.D. that he purchased on-line somewhere.

His website has a couple of dozen testimonial letters that appear to be fakes.  I haven’t read them all, but the spelling and grammar mistakes are typically Chinese and the comments excessively glowing.

The website also has a large FAQs page which contains some substantial misinformation.  For eg., on salaries, he quotes these amounts as the maximum permitted by Chinese law to be paid to foreign teachers:

BA/BSc./ Diploma or Equiv:
2,500-3,300 RMB/Month    60 RMB/Each Hour
MA/MSc./MFA./Mphil or Equiv:
3,300-4,600 RMB/Month    65 RMB/Each Hour
Ph.D or Equiv:
4,600-5,600 RMB/Month    70 RMB/Each Hour

Then, it states that schools can pay 5% more in larger centres to allow for the higher cost of living; Private schools can pay 10% more; and married or cohabiting couples are paid 5% more - all apparently stipulated by Chinese law.

It goes on to say, “Please be extremely cautious and alert that by offering a higher salary, many schools and language training centers in various part China are employing foreign teachers illegally (underground) without license/authorization.”

Also, “Please note that under the strict Regulation/Law of CSAFE, no any schools (which are registered and licensed under Chinese law) in China will be allowed to break the law applicable to foreigners.  If a school is found to be providing much more salary and more benefits/offers to a foreigner than those norms/standard (Pay Scale and other offers) regulated by the CSAFE, then the school shall have to face a certain fine in the end and loss its license to employ foreign teachers.”

The site further claims that “Under strict Chinese Law/Regulation, no any school / organization in China is allowed to provide the air ticket before the arrival of a foreign teacher in China.”  It also claims that it is illegal for schools in China to reimburse more than half of a teacher’s air fare up front.

Also, it seems that the schools he recruits for are very poor and in out-of-the-way places; often, there are no other persons who speak English and the teachers are very isolated.  The schools, which are apparently hard pressed for even a few thousand RMB pay Yakup 7000 a head if he recruits “volunteers” who will work for 1000-2000 a month. One of the more disturbing aspects of “Dr.” Yakup is in the personal references posted in his behalf by none other than Alin Buuer aka Frank Zhang.  These have appeared with some regularity on teachers’ ESL sites.

Worse, here is a quote from the administrator of a prominent ESL teachers’ board: “Some 6 months ago, Alin went as far as creating an email address at Hotmail with the name of a teacher who had written a bad review against him on our Review board. He wrote to us, using this fake Hotmail email account, pretending to be the teacher, and asking to remove “his” post…”

The most disturbing part is that it was easy to uncover one more quite unpleasant and dangerous aspect to this “Dr.” Yakup, relating to his carnal appetites.  It appears that attractive young female teachers are encouraged to accept a ‘job’ as recruiters in his office at 10,000 per month instead of teaching at a much lower rate of pay.  The job includes ‘free’ housing and, since his office is in his apartment, that means living with him.  I have discovered sufficient credible posts by these girls that it cannot but be true.

According to those who have accepted these overtures, the job consists of spending all day posting countless numbers of fake job ads on every site available.  They claim Yakup tries to place teachers only after they arrive in Beijing - that he has no live jobs open at any given time.

In each case it seems that after a month or two the girls realise they’re being had and want to quit, at which point Yakup demands 10,000 RMB as payment for their housing and then dumps them on the street.  There are also documented reports of Yakup requesting sexual favours from teachers prior to placement - including from married women who are there with their husbands.  ”There is another and extremely more troubling allegation of a young lady who claims sex was forced on her by “Dr.” Yakup against her will.”

Here is one such sad letter from a young teacher.  I’ve deleted her identity.

“Some months ago I sent an application to “Dr.” Yakup; He is neither a medical doctor nor a PhD holder.  But just for fun he calls himself a “Dr”.  I got a prompt reply.  He asked me to meet him immediately.  I went to his office in Beijing.  He told me “There is a very nice job for you … Recruitment officer in my Office.  You can earn 10000 yuan every month”.  I thought it was a nice idea to be with him.  He promised many things.  He put me in a nice apartment.  I started working for him, day and night!.  My job was to find Teachers.  Within one month I found some teachers.  But he never paid me anything.  He behaved very badly.  I left him.  later I came to know that he is not a normal person.”

And another: “My wife, who is a Chinese native, was recruited to work for him as an agent. Yakup kept making many promises, but (they were) only lies.  This man (kept) asking my wife for sexual favours and (to) introduce young female friends to meet with him.

“I worked for Yakup as a recruiter for 10 months, where I recruited over 60 teachers.  More than 75% of them were sent to different locations than the ones I had promised to them, simply because the fool Yakup DOESN’T ACTUALLY PLACE YOU UNTIL YOU ARRIVE IN CHINA!  This means that it’s possible that you could get to Beijing, have no job, and he might be unable to get you a job, which is exactly what happened to a number of underqualified teachers whom we recruited.  Yakup is a liar.  Yakup is a cheat.  I would love to put him away, but he’s got too many ties.”

Yakup is a crook!  He spends a lot of his time putting up postive (posts) about his company, to confuse people to believe he is legit, but is not.  He has several alliases.  Lives in Chaoyang, and rarely goes outside, lives in a secure building.  Most likely afraid to go out, because someone might like to break his legs.  He is a pervert and a pedophile… Not to mention other things.  Lying and cheating, full of deceit.  We are currently trying to have cases against him, to put him away.  A truly despicable human being, if we can call him one…”

Recently “Dr.” Yakup had a potential new hire - a female teacher who spoke not one word of Chinese repeat to him over and over again Wo Ai Ni (I love you).  He refused to tell her its meaning and while holding her hand, had her repeat it over and over again.  He and his Chinese staff thought this was simply hilarious.

This same young lady was originally told her contract period would be for less than a month (summer camp type work) and she would be paid quite well.  When she asked to see a copy of the contract, she was told that such a thing only existed online and apparently the friendly folks at Yakup International lacked the resources to print one for her to see.  Red Flag Number One.

She was held in an apartment (originally offered for her to stay at, as a gesture of how nice they were) with several Chinese people who never let her out of their sight.  They even went so far as to stand watch over her outside the bathroom.  On her second night in her new ‘home’ when she asked for more details about her job, she was summoned to another building to “Dr.” Yakup’s office (which also happens to be his personal apartment) where he told her that she would now be expected to work for at least 5 months, possibly a year.  Red Flag Number Two.

She got nervous and wanted to contact some family and friends.  Despite their flashy website and obvious computer savvy, they could not provide her with internet access or arrange it for her to check her email or send any email. Red Flag Number Three.

Then, the next night, “Dr.” Yakup had her in his “office/bedroom” (now her third night in this increasingly uncomfortable situation) and while holding her hand for an extended period of time, proceeded to tell her that if she ever smoked another cigarette again he would be “very, very angry with you.”  This young lady was now scared and really wanted out.  When she mentioned that she didn‘t want the job (telling him that the reason was now the job had gone from a 3 week summer camp position, to a 5 month full time gig, possibly a year), “Dr.” Yakup told her that she had no choice.  He claimed the men coming to get her had already left for Beijing and so there was no debate about it, she HAD to take the job.  She would be leaving soon and that was that!  Red Flag Number Four.

No contract, no guarantees and no answer as to exactly where she would be going, or for how long.  No access to International Phone calls.  No access to emails.  The only thing she had was a cell phone, but it was not able to make International calls and she was monitored on every conversation.

Anytime she tried to get away (even just to go for a walk around the neighbourhood as she tried telling them) she had at least one, usually two people who went with her everywhere and kept her from doing what she wanted.

She was terrified; feeling trapped and wanted to leave.  She had no idea how to contact the police (everyone should know the phone number for the police in any country they visit.  So, the young lady then called me (someone she barely knows), frightened and feeling trapped.

While on the phone, I told her to act excited (in a good way) and tell them that a friend from Beijing wanted to come and say goodbye to her before she left Beijing.  She did so and waited.

When we arrived, everyone was friendly enough.  We greeted the Chinese staff who spoke to us in English and we when they asked where we were going, we simply said we were taking her to have some lunch.  They asked why we were taking both her bags and we said we were also going to do some laundry and buy some things to prepare for her trip out of Beijing.

They told us no and began to block our way out of the apartment.  They said they would have lunch brought to us.  We thanked them for their kind offer, but said we had a special restaurant we wanted to take our friend to before she left Beijing and that we would be back in about two hours after lunch and laundry.  They got even more in between us and her, blocking our way and told us now that no one could leave.

I began to get upset and pushed my way past them to take the arm of the now completely terrified young lady and move her out the door.  Suddenly the Yakup staff who couldn‘t speak or understand anymore English and the one lady told her colleagues to call for others to come, saying in Chinese Ta xiang tao pao (She’s trying to escape).

That is when I reminded them that she had no contract, was not obligated in any way to stay and we were leaving now and they needed to get out of our way.  Through many loud comments in Chinese about how we had to stay, could not leave, etc. we made our way to the elevator.

Once we were in the elevator, one of the Chinese staff for Yakup International kept pressing the button for the elevator (outside the door) to keep the door from closing, while telling all the other Chinese people already in the elevator that the foreign girl had ‘my jacket in her bag’.  I told them that we were going to call the police and foreign affairs and they needed to let us go.  She still blocked our way and kept everyone trapped on the 11th floor by repeatedly pressing the button to keep the door open, while screaming for her colleagues to get others here quickly.

After I stepped out of the elevator and kept her from hitting the button again, allowing my colleagues to evacuate the now almost crying young lady to our vehicle, the Chinese staff from 1106 - Building 418 - Wangjing Garden Apartments, attempted to keep ME from leaving by way of the stairs.  I am a large man with no fear and after extracting myself from their lame attempts to physically hold me until others from their company arrived, I went down the stairs.  I was punched in the stomach by the lone (quite small and young) Chinese man of their staff, after I broke free from their grasp.  I’m sorry that he had his punch returned; I am quite sure he felt his ‘gift’ a bit more than I felt his.

Hysterically screaming from the top of the stairs in Chinese, their female staff member kept hollering Wo bu zhi dao shen me yi si (I don‘t know your meaning).  My meaning was quite clear. We were taking a young lady from an almost hostage-like situation to safety.

I have already contacted the police and the foreign affairs department and encourage anyone else who has had a negative experience with Yakup International to do the same.

There are some postings by others you need to read as well.  They young lady I am speaking of found this horrible organization through a website called “That’s Beijing” (   I realize that they can not control who places ads on their system (after all, one can simply change their email address and re-register again).  I do not fault them in any way for what has happened.

Beware of situations like this, please use some common sense and before you leave Beijing for any job.  Make sure you know where you are going and when you will be back.  Register with your embassy in Beijing, take their phone numbers with you and make sure you know how to use your cell phone to contact the police and call internationally.  You can buy phone cards, but often they only work in the city where you have bought them and you may not be able to do this from the countryside.  Have your family and/or friends call you weekly in such a case to make sure you are safe if you have no other method available to you.  In short, be an adult and make sure you are looked after and don’t allow someone else to do this for you.

The time to get out of any situation is back at Red Flag Number One.  From a safe distance you can take the time to determine if the warning is serious enough to stay away, or something that can be resolved.

Chinese recruiter Dai Chao

DON’T BE FOOLED BY THIS PERSON. He also holds office at Rm.403, B2 tower, Unis Bldg.Chaoyang District, Beijing, with the office  name- Assumption University, China Representative Office. Just like any other cheats, he claims to be an agent of a prestigious university in Thailand and pretends to have graduated from a prestigious university in Canada. He also offers promising salary and jobs for his recruited teachers. His system is to let the newly recruited teachers work for his “contact school” (particularly in Shanxi Province) for 1 term; however, before the term ends, he would find ways and means to free himself from paying the last working month of the teacher. This guy is also one hell of delinquent payer, thus the teachers are always left waiting for more than a month or 2. His email address is Don’t be fooled by their advertisement at ESL

1 comment:

eslobserver said...

Hi, posted a link to this on my site. Really hate that kind of crap! Glad to see people giving a heads up!