Chinese Tour Guides Jailed For Assaulting Tourists

Bruce Parkinson, Open Jaw

Five Chinese tour guides caught on camera assaulting and scamming tourists have been sentenced to up to a year in prison and fined.

A video went viral on Weibo a year ago showing the tour guides slapping tourists on a bus near the Great Wall and demanding money.

On the video one female guide could be heard shouting: "Do you understand or not? Give me money!" The guides demanded a 160 yuan ($30) fee from each customer simply to stop the bus at the Great Wall for a short period. When some occupants on the bus refused to pay, the guides became aggressive.

After the resulting outcry, police in Beijing and Hebei arrested four and a fifth later turned himself in to authorities.

Strong arm tactics by Chinese tour guides have damaged the reputation of the tourist industry over the last few years in China and overseas.

Most of the bad press has centred on notorious 'zero dollar tours' -- cut price tour packages where tourists are shepherded around retail outlets and forced to spend money on overpriced goods.

In the past, there were instances where tourists refusing to spend enough money were verbally berated and even physically assaulted. Tour guides struck deals to pocket large commissions with the store owners.

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