How tourists are deceived in St. Petersburg bars
The police of St. Petersburg announced the arrest of a group of scammers who deceived the guests of the Northern capital: pretty girls lured tourists to specially created bars, where they were “bred” for a lot of money. Visitors fell on the hook of charmers as soon as they set foot on Nevsky Prospekt from the Moscow railway station.
The previous attempt to impose a minimal order on the drinking establishments of the city was made at the end of last year, but although millions of checks, arrests and mass searches were announced, it seemed that everything was over.
Many media outlets reported about the “cleansing” on the main “drinking” street of Rubinshtein in the city in November last year. Then the security forces carried out a real special operation there, as a result of which dozens of bars were closed and hundreds of liters of alcohol were confiscated. The police collected statements from 11 men who gave more than 10.5 million rubles to the scammers. According to them, in the bars they were provided with menus that were overpriced, which is why the final bill turned out to be many times more than they expected. Cases have also been uncovered when bar employees deducted large sums of money from customers’ bank cards.
In addition, the police detained a large group of swindlers who took tourists to the non-existent bars De Marco on the embankment of the Griboedov Canal, 66 and Vernsage on 4th Sovetskaya Street, 13. Especially to deceive the guests, the premises were rented, appropriately furnished, and what kind of burda was served here to guests at the price of elite wines, no examination will figure it out. About two dozen people were behind bars at once.
Many wondered what caused this sudden “cleansing”. As Nasha Versiya found out, there was indeed a weighty reason.
“Sheepdogs” and “rams”
Now it became known that at that time in St. Petersburg there was almost an international scandal. The so-called friendship train arrived in the northern capital from Finland – several dozen political activists and simply curious Finns arrived from a neighboring country who wanted to see with their own eyes how Russia survives under Western sanctions. A Finnish journalist brought them to our country Bones Heiskanen, which, in addition to showing guests cultural attractions, organized a tour of nightlife in St. Petersburg for compatriots. On Rubinshteina Street, foreign tourists met a flock of pretty girls. They suggested that the new acquaintances continue their conversation in the bar, where the Finns, anticipating the continuation of the evening, proceeded with pleasure. The girls offered to smoke a hookah, and while the foreign tourists were choosing the flavor they needed, the beauties disappeared somewhere, and in the meantime, helpful waiters brought the cocktails ordered by the charmers. It is not known how it would have ended if Heiskanen, who imagines the realities of night Petersburg much better than the Finnish guests, did not immediately ask for the bill. After that, it turned out that several cocktails in the bar were valued at 400 euros. Having shown the astonished comrades how much it costs to communicate with Russian girls, the journalist made a scandal, got hit in the ribs by the guards of the establishment, but still managed to call the police and take his companions out of the bar along with the cash in their wallets.
The gullible Finns have become victims of the so-called consumators, or “promo models”, who have been densely crowding the guests of the Northern capital for several years. This scheme came to St. Petersburg from abroad – in Southeast Asia, restaurateurs hire pretty girls to invite strolling men to enter the establishment, and then entertain them with conversations for as long as possible so that they can spend money. However, in the Russian version, everything turned out to be more brutal – the girls drag the men into the bar and immediately run away in search of new victims. And the guests of the city are surrounded by personnel who, by washing and skating, get the maximum amount out of them. Alcoholic drinks in such bars cost like a wing from an airplane, sometimes there is a “double menu” (what is initially shown to the guest and what he is billed for), sometimes the drunk visitor is brought the same bill for payment several times. And if the client completely loses his sanity, then the most shameless amount can be written off from his card. By the way, in St. Petersburg, such girls are sometimes called “shepherd dogs”, hinting that they drive the “rams” to the “shepherd”, who will cut them.
It is noteworthy that the existence of such a scheme in St. Petersburg has been spoken and written for a long time, but the swindlers remained unpunished. So the November assault on Rubinstein Street did not immediately bring visible results. The fact is that formally they do not violate anything. Especially if they strictly follow the script – they met girls, they went to a bar, they ordered a drink, they got a bill. The fact that the amount was prohibitive, so it was necessary to carefully read the menu. Adult wealthy men, who most often become victims of swindlers, somehow cannot admit that they chased seemingly affordable girls in search of corrupt love and got into money. Therefore, the majority prefer to pay the bill, laying out 200-300 thousand rubles each.
In St. Petersburg – do not drink!
Nevertheless, the council on scammers was still found. The fact is that due to a decrease in income due to the lack of foreign tourists, they decided to blur the established scheme. One of the most affordable ways to save money was the use of counterfeit alcohol. This has led to some clients being admitted to the hospital with signs of poisoning.
The threat to people’s life and health is a completely different article than just fraud (which the victims still most often do not report), and it has become easier for the security forces to work.
At the end of April, one of the organizers of the illegal business of robbing drunken clients was detained in St. Petersburg, as well as two of his accomplices, one 21 years old, the other 23 years old. It was they who were responsible for the set of “promo models”. According to the Main Directorate of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation for St. Petersburg, the 34-year-old entrepreneur created and united three night bars into a network (addresses: Rubinshteina St., 28, Nevsky Prospekt, 46, Kazanskaya St., 7). If a client who got into one of the bars began to suspect something, he was taken to another drinking establishment within the same scheme. The bars themselves, by the way, are also arrested, they pass as material evidence.
Law enforcement officers searched the bars and housing of the detainees, seizing, among other things, 300 thousand rubles of unaccounted cash, 20 liters of alcoholic beverages without excises, and in addition, they found a warehouse where another 126.5 liters of alcohol-containing liquid were hidden. Rumor has it that the operatives also found some pills, which theoretically could also be added to alcohol to increase its “lethal” power.
What caused a new surge in the activity of the security forces? The main version is that the “consumers” again deceived some influential guest of the city, who managed to get through to the St. Petersburg authorities. So the development of operational information began, which resulted in arrests and the closure of drinking establishments. Another version (which generally does not contradict the first one) is the beginning of the tourist season. The city authorities have big plans for it, taking into account the actually closed borders, and Smolny needs at least minimal order on the streets at night. Another version is intraspecific struggle. The arrested owner of the bars launched an overly violent activity, so the competitors in drinking establishments decided to take him out of the game by sending the necessary data to the security forces.
Therefore, experts doubt that the police will be able to completely put an end to this type of deception – the most presumptuous scammers will leave the market or go to jail, but the mechanism itself will not disappear anywhere. And therefore, guests of St. Petersburg are advised to be on their guard and not follow the lead of Sergei Shnurovwho erroneously assured that in St. Petersburg you can only drink.