I got a text message from one of my best friends yesterday morning who has been teaching TEFL in China for three years... "OMG! ****, *******, and ****** were all arrested yesterday by the visa police people. What is going on? Call me ASAP"
Of course this bad news about our mutual friends put us on red alert and we all scrambled to find out what was going on. We got together and went to the local cop shop to play dumb and make a "missing person report". The little ploy worked as one of the women cops was really sympathetic and got really helpful on our behalf and checked the Hospital admissions for foreigners and arrest data for Beijing. In less than an hour she had what we were looking for - an explanation.
Our three friends were "not missing" she confirmed but were arrested for visa fraud related to the recruiter they had used (China ESL, China TEFL Academy, and Expertise Education) They would not tell us where they were but the woman allowed us to make a phone to them and one of our friends said that New World ESL was a phony company set up by the government visa police to run fake ads with high-paying jobs just to get information and run visa and diploma checks on the teachers who apply for jobs. Our friend confirmed that they all went for job interviews walking distance from Dongzhimen Subway Station. At this point someone must have overheard us talking because they took the phone away from her and hung up on me. I played it cool at the police station and we thanked the lady cop who was really nice and super friendly.
So we went for coffee and started searching on line and found that this sting operation has been going on since October and it appears that maybe a dozen recruiters have flipped on their own clients, or else the police just went through their records. There is no way to know how much is cooperation and how much is coercion. We did find this link however that confirms most of our theory TEFL forums - Beware of 3 China ESL Job Recruiters - Foreign Teacher Sting But anyone who got job placements through these three agencies had better have Z visas and real university diplomas:
China ESL aka TotatalESL.com aka MyChinaJob.com, aka NewLifeESL.com (Beijing)
Expertise Education aka ExpertiseEducation.com (Beijing)
China TEFL Academy aka ChinaTEFL.com, aka Hellen Group (Hangzhou)
So if you see great jobs advertised with any email or telephone number linked to NEW WORLD ESL do not contact them - YOU ARE BEING SET UP FOR A FAKE INTERVIEW AND SCRUTINY. Even if you are 100% you should stay off their radar screen completely. Also know that there is nobody named "Jerry" at Expertise Education and it just may be an undercover cop working there that using that fabricated name.
The other thing to consider is that China Scam Patrol reported in September and October that the three recruiters above all bought resumes from Echinacities.com and Sinocities.com (both owned by a CCP member named George Xu). So there is a possibility you may get called or emailed out of the blue with some great job offer if you ever posted or sent your resume to Echinacities.com or Sinocities. If you are 100% legitimate you have nothing to worry about.