China / Society

Ticket scalpers face crackdown at Beijing hospitals

By Liu Wei ( Updated: 2016-02-18 15:15

Ticket scalpers face crackdown at Beijing hospitals

Patients wait in line for the registration windows to open at the Beijing Stomatological Hospital on Wednesday. The windows open at 7 am to sell tickets for treatment, and it is a common practice for people to use stools or other objects to reserve a place in the line. Photo by Zou Hong / China Daily

Hospitals are increasing measures to crack down on ticket scalpers who re-appeared on the first workday after the Spring Festival holiday on Feb 14, Beijing Daily reported on Thursday.

Public complaints have attracted the attention of hospitals and authorities about scalpers who buy all appointment tickets months in advance and re-sell them for much more than they paid, reaping huge profits.

Widespread public outcry has been raised after an online video went viral where a female patient rebuked ticket scalpers.

The woman said she had been waiting for an outpatient appointment for two days, and still could not get a ticket. A scalper offered her an appointment for 4,500 yuan ($684) for a booking originally priced at 300 yuan.

Beijing has arrested dozens of scalpers and pledges to investigate the case.

Some hospitals in Beijing which are known for specialties in particular medical fields have seen the situation improve recently.

Beijing Obstetrics and Gynecology Hospital has set up a section for security guards in the lobby who can monitor possible scalpers and throw them out.

One of the guards said: "We have stricter checks on suspicious scalpers, those acting as patients but actually trying to talk to real patients to sell appointment tickets to them. We will stop and ask them to leave."

Some hospitals also put up big signs with phone numbers for patients to report possible violations.

The appointment system has been upgraded to prevent scalpers from taking advantage.

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