One of the cool things about running this blog: All of the interesting emails I receive on a daily basis from followers all around the world. For someone who really enjoys interacting with people who like Chinese hoops, it’s arguably the most enjoyable aspects of doing NiuBBall.
Over the last week, I’ve gotten several emails — four to be exact — from European and American basketball coaches enquiring about an offer to be the head coach at the Jiangsu Nangang Dragons, who play in the Chinese Basketball Association. The offer, which was originally brought to my attention by fellow China basketball scribe and good friend, Alan Paul, promises US $29,000 per month over two years in addition to other amenities. The offer, pulled from Paul’s blog, goes as follows:
My name is ___ Li, I’m working as (AGENT) with the Chinese Jiangsu Nangang Dragons basketball club,
The management Of Jiangsu Nangang Dragons basketball club, has announced for head coach replacement in the club.This Head coaching contract with the Club is scheduled to start in the 3rd week o of January 2012.
We are very interested to welcome any experience foreign basketball coach/players who can satisfactorily create a great impact in the development of basketball with the Jiangsu Nangang Dragons basketball club.
This is a 24 months Head Coach contract with the Jiangsu Nangang Dragons basketball club. Salary for the coach $29,000 per month, can be transferred to any bank account of your choice in the world.
On the receipt of your resume, We shall outline the procedures in completing this vacancy.If you are interested forward your CV for assessment. And contact me directly for further negotiation.
At first glance, this is awesome. I mean, come on now. This is awesome. Just think — to break into the rising world of Chinese hoops, with that much money, over that many years… in this world economy? Sounds too good to be true.
And in fact, it is too good to be true.
This scam is one of the older ones in the very thick tome of Ways to Cheat Foreigners in China. OK fine, maybe not as old as the “tea house” and “art gallery” scam, but it’s one of the classics that comprise the basketball chapter.
I was introduced to the generalities of this one last summer by an American friend of mine who’s work inside Chinese basketball has spanned over three decades. As he told me, an “agent,” claiming to be a representative of a team, will come to an unsuspecting, enterprising coach via email with a can’t miss big money head coaching job. He will write fluently in English. He will send you various forms, employment records and IDs “proving” that he is in fact a legitimate agent. You and this agent will have correspondance and sooner or later, you’ll come to an agreement over the terms of the contract. You’re on your way to becoming a fat-pocketed CBA head coach.
Or so you think.
Because before everything has to be finalized with the CBA, you need to send your new agent registration and licensing fees. These fees, your agent tells you, are mandatory procedures that all foreigners must complete in order to gain foreign employment licenses, which must be obtained by all foreigners working in China.
The fees range from anywhere between US $500 to $1,000. If you grow suspicious about the idea of sending in money to a person you don’t know, the agent assures you that he is legitimate by sending “authentic” copies of his shenfenzheng (Chinese National ID card), tax clearance receipt and certificate of incorporation. To an excited basketball coach who has neither the ability to read Chinese or the knowledge of Chinese labor law, it all looks very legitimate.
But once you send your fees in, something happens. Your “agent” goes “poof” and your money is gone forever. You’ve been scammed, not even China style, but CBA style.
This particular scam, as I have said, has been around for a while. The last couple of years, this scam has mostly revolved around Jiangsu. Whether they’re in on it or not, I don’t know. I do know this, however:
Typically, teams hire new foreign head coaches in the summer, in order to save money. Non-Chinese coaches are hardly ever brought in right after the season. But that’s kind of moot because at the moment, Jiangsu already has a head coach, Hu Weidong, who replaced longtime coach Xu Qiang in the middle of the season. They’re not in the market for a new one right now. What’s an even bigger giveaway though, the CBA season ends in mid-February this year, so any contract with a start date of anytime before that is obviously a fake one.
So to make this totally clear, these job offers from Chinese “agents” are 100% fake. Do not give any money to these people.
Hopefully, this post will save some coaches from throwing their hard earned money away. But, it likely won’t save them all, which is why everyone should do their part to spread the word about this scam inside their basketball circles.
And if you know of any other basketball scams, feel free to drop a comment and/or send me an email. Because the sad thing is, I know that this isn’t the only one out here.