*Part One of a double part story written about a Chinese illegal Chinese online casino worker, who left his home in Northwestern China to try his luck in Sihanoukville. Read PART TWO HERE
Killing the pig
” Find a successful person, someone to chat to, build up good feelings, then ‘cut’ him.”
To ‘Cut’ is to take him to gamble online. The first few times the operator will let him win, then encourage more and more investment into the platform, before cutting ties and taking everything. This kind of scam routine is called “killing the pig”, a term coined a few years ago from the Philippines and other countries, before really becoming popular in Southeast Asia.
In the Philippines, Malaysia, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos and other countries, the “Chinese killing Chinese” aka “killing pig” companies spread in major cities, and tens of thousands of people are defrauded by these places every year. The workers are given nicknames such as “dog push” and “spinach army”.
In the pyramid scheme of “killing pigs”, the bottom rung of the ladder is the “dog push” who find hardship, and a troubled conscience. These are the runners, the gophers, the bottom of the food chain, who will be punished with huge ‘fines’ and even be beaten for any infraction of the organisations rules.
Through deception, and greed countless Chinese people fall into the trap of the dog push. The top bosses, managers, and snake-heads (Chinese mafia) earn big money, but are always prepared to push a large number of compatriots off a metaphorical cliff.
A Dog’s Life
The restaurant business was not doing well in Lanzhou (NW China). Chen Jingyu wanted to go abroad for the first time. “I wanted to earn some quick money, I did not expect to be able to come back” he said.
In mid-June of this year, a friend of a friend named Ma Bing told him to make money in Malaysia working in gambling. In Malaysi gambling is legal, and he could work 12 hours a day online, and earn two or three thousand US a month. Ma Bing also sent photos of the office there, Chen Jingyu felt very hopeful.
After waiting for 9 days, his passport was done, and Ma Bing helped a group of 9 people to buy airline tickets.
Before the departure on June 28, Ma Bing suddenly announced that instead of going to Malaysia, the recruits would be sent to Sihanoukville, Cambodia. “The environment is almost the same” he told them.
At that time, Chen Jingyu and others were already ducks that had been caught in the nets, and there was nothing they could say.
Later that evening they flew from Lanzhou Zhongchuan Airport to Chongqing, and in the early morning took direct flights from Chongqing to Sihanoukville (referred to as Westport).
His first impression is that the Westport Airport terminal was that it was particularly small, only the size of the bus station his hometown. After collecting a visa, their passports taken. It was raining that day, and they were picked up in a gold car and driven to the company.
His second impression was that Westport was a broken road, water everywhere, no asphalt road.
Walking through the streets, he got a third impression, almost 90% of the people here are Chinese.
They were handed over to a man named Li Bin and told, “He is your boss. You will listen to him in the future. He will arrange for you to eat and live.” Li Bin told them not to run around. “There is a lot of robbery here, not a joke, there are shootings. The government can also arrest you, and you can pay 100 dollars, and 200 dollars to get out.”
Chen Jingyu said “I slept in the apartment in the suburbs, and the next day they were taken to the city center to play slowly. “There are casinos, clubs, spas, and the ladies ‘clearly priced’.”
On the third day, they began to receive training – brainwashing, “Speech”. “The first task of the spinach dog is to package yourself with a fake online persona.
According to the requirements, they look for information on social networking sites. After identifying a person, they download all his materials and photos, including life photos, car photos, etc. and use software to remove any digital watermarks.
Yang Fuchun, who was working as a dog in Manila, Philippines, said that he would find them from Weibo or buy it from Taobao. At least 100 photos should be added together so that they can be sent at any time during the chat with the target.
“Men generally say that they are doing financial and IT work, and they are convenient to talk about people doing investment and financial management. A woman can say that her brother works here and needs to know the routine. “Yang Fuchun said, “Sometimes a person is handsome, and almost a dozen people in the company are using his photos. “
Packaging yourself is the first step. “Accounting” is the second step. Luo Xiaohu, a guy who was came from Shenzhen to Westport, said that “two strangers” and “micro-signals” are attached to each of the two mobile phones. The micro-signal is 150 yuan for the company (*not sure what this means-Ed).
In the first 7 days, their task was to their “raise WeChat”, by sending photos and status to social software, and shape profiles as “real people.”
When the training started, the “spinach dogs” knew that they were involved in fraud, but their passport were taken and there were guards outside the door. They had no way to escape. Many people are uneasy, do not want to do it, and could only stay temporarily.
Chen Jingyu told the boss, “I said that I am a Hui (*an ethnic Chinese group). I am a person with faith. I can’t do this kind of industry.” The boss said, “Come on, come and try.”
Chen Jingyu’s company also sends two iPhone6s per person, and all social software has two. “Exploration, Momo, WeChat, QQ, come, Hotla, to be honest, I have never heard of it in China. ” He packaged himself as a foreign trade company owner in Shenyang, in his early 30s, who drove sports cars, flying in the country to talk about business. Then, he used the same city function to search for nearby people and add people to chat.
During the training classes, the 40-year-old teacher and the old cat spoke wonderfully. Chen Jingyu felt that the eloquence of the old cat was like a professor. “Men’s special deception is a silly, sweet, or white, rich girl, worshipping a golden woman.” he was told.
Chen Jingyu said that there are indeed many “golden women” who are easy to get unsuspecting men hooked. “Some people take the initiative to say, ‘Ah, you are so handsome, I am from a family poor, earning enough money. I see a handsome man, I like the older ones, can not help my temptation. Let’s make a appointment, you come out I invite you to eat ‘.” But the premise is that the packaging should be never be too hard.
In the packaging materials left by Luo Xiaohu, there are not only many “training materials”, “speech skills”, “chat records”, but also a folder of girls called “KK”, which contains 2,500 photos of the girl and 172 small videos.
When a rapport is made between a target, the gambling work begins.
“At the beginning, let the customer bet three or five hundred, slowly thousands and ten thousand, let him win the money, taste the sweetness, he believes that the platform is true. Then slowly set the stakes high.”
“The hearts of people are greedy, and few people will stop. The dog will encourage the mark to raise more cash to gamble, let him sell, houses, take online loans, Alipay, Huali, credit cards, there are dozens of online loans available,”Chen Jingyu said.
On flights to and from China and Southeast Asian countries, young people who are engaged in illegal gambling are often encountered. Doing gambling scams is called “spinach”, and they are called “spinach army.” When they go to their destination, they face an unexpected environment.
The bosses are not alarmist, and Cambodia’s law and order is indeed poor. Just 10 days later, Chen Jingyu saw five murders in the news and from his friends circle. “A man and a woman were robbed, and the woman resisted. She was shot through the neck and kicked off the car.”
The “killing pig tray” company is generally a closed system. The dormitory building and the work building are in a yard. There are guards with guns at the door, or close at hand.
“Spinach” employees live in multi-person dorms. Their working hours start from 12 noon, and then continue to work until the early hours of the morning, or even later. They are not allowed to call family members, nor can they video, chat and try to use their own voice.
Chen Jingyu’s company has hundreds of “spinach dogs”, each with a code name, engraved on the badge. “The boss said, here, don’t tell your real name to others, it will be dangerous.” Usually, everyone uses the code name to call each other.
A few days later, looking at it, he felt that 50% of these people are college students, and the other 50% are social gangsters . “It’s tattooed, there are also legs, and earrings are the kind of people who don’t want to suffer hard in the country and want to go to the wrong way to earn money.” Chen Jingyu said, “In the past two years, the country has been ridding evil and fighting against yellow gambling. Those who don’t want to endure hardships and have no brains to do business, but who are thinking about getting rich overnight, have come running.”
During the class, the old cat said that people who had “killing pigs” in the country had committed suicide by jumping off the building. “You don’t mind this. He has nothing to do with you. Don’t think that if you make his money, you will be bad. When you are hungry and living on the streets, who is pity for you? Those rich people, rich second generations, and even a piece of cloth will not cover you. The human heart is like this.”
In order to inspire everyone, the old cat talked about the example of Xiao Hei. Xiao Hei found a rich woman, chatted and cultivated her feelings, let her fill up the internet platform account with over 5 million (*more than $700,000 US) , and then “killed” her. It, he told the dogs “can be called a classic case.”
The workers were further induced by promises of bonuses for the more ‘pigs’ the killed.
In some cities in Southeast Asia, there are often many “killing pigs” companies in the same office building. These office buildings are also known as “Oriental Magic Caves.” The usual indoor layout is a bit like an internet cafe.
Jingyu’s company is relatively new . 200 people are divided into 20 groups, 10 people in a group, the team leader sits in the forefront. Once someone fills the money target, the team leader will call the killing and everyone else will applaud.
The Philippine company where Yang Fuchun is located is relatively calm. The boss asks everyone to try their voice as much as possible, and does not wear headphones to create a “real sense of intimacy” forcustomers. Therefore, in the office of more than 100 square meters, the sounds come and go. Some people wear earplugs to prevent interference.
Luo Xiaohu’s company is located in a desolate suburb of Westport. There are armed guards at the entrance of the yard. There are dormitory buildings and living areas, which are self-contained. But he is not used to it. There are a lot of mosquitoes in the dormitory.
Every day, he goes downstairs to take a box of rice and go upstairs. He is also used to having diarrhea every day. Luo Xiaohu once heard the voice of a colleague. “A woman who has been cheated is tens of thousands, crying over there.” Colleagues are unmoved. “I feel they can be worried.”
In the past three years, the influx of illegal gaming companies has also abnormally raised the rent, house prices, rent and prices of Westport. In the small supermarket of the yard, a bottle of mineral water sells for 1 dollar, a bucket of noodles is 1.5 dollars, and a haircut costs 3 dollars. And he only has a basic salary of 3,000 yuan ($423) per month, which is far from enough. “I have been sinned for a day. I can’t get results, sometimes I have the urge to kill the leader.”
Yang Fuchun’s Manila Hongsheng Group has a boss in Fujian and a manager in the Northeast. The company has more than 70 employees, including more than 10 Malay Chinese. Unlike the closed courtyard in Westport, Manila’s gaming companies are in the bustling office buildings, with armed guards at the door, and 8 minutes from the dormitory to the company. The Hongsheng Group has just registered for a few months, so it has not paid for a large number of website accounts for employees.
Of the 70 people, only about 8 people can reach performance targets in a month, but these 8 people can rush the company’s performance to more than 2 million ($280,000). One of the team leaders is a veteran of “killing pigs” with a single performance of 600,000 ($85,000).
Yang Fuchun learned that Manila’s office rent is 3,700 yuan ($522) per square meter, and 50 square meters of dormitory rent is 15,000 yuan ($2100). In addition to staff living expenses and food expenses, the company’s monthly expenses will cost more than 1 million yuan. In that office building, there are dozens of such “killing pig” companies, with about 2,000 “spinach dogs”.
One night, a group of “spinach dogs” ate instant noodles in a dormitory where 16 people live together. One of the group, Xiao Xie had cheated a target out of 200,000 ($28,000) during the day. Everyone said that he was lucky and met a fool.
Xiao Xie cried while drinking. “Who is his mother willing to do this kind of hurting thing? I want to go back, but I can’t help it. I don’t have money at home to let me go. I am cheating on this money, I don’t know if I can get it.” If I can get the salary, I will go back directly to the country. “
According to the company system, Xiao Xie made 25% of the money and got 50,000. He immediately left the company money and flew back to the country.
Yang Fuchun said that the leader of the team gets 35%. If the team member defrauds the money, the team leader can also get a 10% rebate. “In addition to the group leader, 90% of them are deceived. 80% of them have no money at home, and they are doing it; 10% don’t want to let the family know, and want to go home half a year into the job.”
TO BE CONTINUED
*This article was translated from Phoenix WEEKLY.