The above things being said, these kinds of behaviors are quite common in legitimate businesses also - minus the buying government officials gifts - ANYTIME somebody mentions the word government official (or state owned company) and gift - walk away - it is pure corruption and illegal in China and most of the developed world.
Nominal gifts would be something from YOUR country of nominal but cultural value. Buying crap here to give away is bribery. Nominal gifts are things like pens, books, confectionaries (chocolates, candies, etc) and should ONLY be give to the company leader IF they are NOT government officials or officials of state owned enterprises.
As the alleged source of finance, it is inappropriate to request gifts of any kind - this is akin to taking money out of your pocket, giving it to someone, and asking them to buy something for you - it makes zero sense, unless that money in your pocket doesn't belong to you.
When dealing in foreign countries, one should ALWAYS work with established legal entities in those countries to vet opportunities.
The only time this is difficult to do is when the projects are project financed - usually the project owners will solicit various stakeholders BEFORE they create the SPV (Special Purpose Vehicle), but those projects are easier to vet as each party is a stakeholder and bears it's own costs - no gift giving there, unless you're feeling particularly happy and generous.
All countries are foreign countries, but the degree and type of establishment of legal entities varies.
It happened to me as well! This crooks are still active. A "friend" told me about his hotel project and that I shall send his project manager a mail to participate. They told me to come to kunming to sign the contract and that I have to buy cigarettes for the leaders. Which I did because they had all my stuff in there car. I was forced to. Chen still emails me to send more money because I didn't got enough to pay for the "gift". Anyone has a email of the police how speaks English?
It's the same guy I saw the photos. Yunnan corp!
Unbelievable they are still in business! Chen and the Yunnan company! So glad I found this forum before leaving
I am sure that the Scammers and their police buddies are sitting around a table drinking tea, smoking FREE cigarettes and reading this 23 page thread as entertainment and laughing their asses off.
what? they can read? better keep tabs on these intellectuals.
I am sorry people were and are being cheated or scammed by these crooks in Kunming. This has been going on all over China and in other countries for a long time. Common sense, due diligence and using, paid consultants with local experience can avoid this. A lot of time, preparation and costs to come have been expended by each company thinking they had a sale. Yet no money spent to check on the Chinese company.The scammers are very good at doing this even if amateur in their language skills. WE are NOT the local police or law enforcement agencies. In Yunnan these agencies are busy with very serious criminal problems cross border issues, like human beings smuggling , drugs, bad foods, weapons, and more smuggling. The scammers may be low level gangster types. Some of us can often instinctively read between lines, words and expressions to tell you to not do this business. Your consulates in China hear about these things often. Talk to them. Keep looking for help here. Or if you like PM me.
I went to the police and will go there again to fill in all report details. If anyone want to send me there case as well to reach out to interpol pm me