Let’s be honest. The temptations while on the road have brought down many a businessman and the occasional businesswoman. China Law Blog’s post on a brothel scam should serve as a reminder to always think with your head – especially in China. The conversation the blog author relates is fairly common. While working in China I received calls from several distraught wives in the States telling me they had been notified that their husband had been arrested in China on prostitution charges and asking if I could help solve the situation. These calls always tore me up because I could hear the sadness, disappointment and embarrassment in the wife’s voice. There was always the pretense that the charges were in error but I knew they didn’t believe it. I would give them the number for a Chinese lawyer and advise them to follow the lawyer’s instructions – which were usually to wire money to pay the fine so the husband could be released in a few weeks. Of course, explaining to the man’s company that he would be staying in China a few weeks longer than anticipated must have been about as much fun as seeing the wife upon return to the States.
Incidentally, the US Embassy or Consulate, if contacted by the husband in this case, would not inform the spouse or anyone else concerning the circumstances of the “arrest” unless the husband signed a waiver of the privacy act and gave them permission to inform the spouse.
The case described by China Law Blog was almost certainly a setup and extortion. The police would not be entering the room at such a convenient time and in cooperation with the brothel manager. If anything, the businessman should consider himself very lucky he was only out $4000 and could leave China right away.