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Train ticket scalpers under arrest
(Shanghai Daily)
Updated: 2005-02-04 13:48

The Shanghai Railway Public Security Bureau announced yesterday it solved 276 train ticket scalping cases, seizing 544 suspects and 2,945 train tickets worth more than 420,000 yuan (US$50,602) since the peak Spring Festival traffic period started on January 25.

Officers cracked down on 22 scalping rings and destroyed 20 scalping dens around railway stations in the city as well as in other main cities under the bureau's jurisdiction, such as Nanjing and Hangzhou.Police have taken 305 suspected scalpers into custody since January 25, they added.

Police boasted they arrested 28 ticket dealers on January 25 alone, snaring 113 train tickets worth 11,153 yuan.

The next day, city police busted five members of a criminal ring accused of producing and selling bogus train tickets. Officers confiscated 41 fake tickets, 4,900 yuan in illicit profits and various tools used to produce the counterfeits.

On Sunday, officers captured another five suspected scalpers in a rented house on Zhongshan Road N., Zhabei District. Police confiscated 62 tickets for long distance train service from Shanghai to Chengdu (Sichuan Province), Wuhan (Hubei Province) and Kunming (Yunnan Province).

"So far the anti-scalping campaign has been successful and the security condition during this year's traffic rush is sound compared with previous years," said Sun Weiliang, a city railway police department official.He advised passengers to purchase train tickets at authorized box offices and not to trade with individuals to prevent being cheated.

However, there are still a large number of people preferring to do business with scalpers.

Shanghai Daily reporters went to the Shanghai Railway United Box Office Building yesterday afternoon, and witnessed hundreds of passengers packed outside the building busy finding people to buy tickets from.Behind the building lies the only site to provide refunds for train tickets in the city but many ticket holders chose to sell their seats outside of the agency to avoid losing money.

As required by the Ministry of Railways, 20 percent of the money will be deducted if a train ticket is returned.

"I would not sustain the losses as 20 percent can last me two to three days," said a migrant man who was trying to sell a Nanjing-oriented ticket at its original price.Among ticket-hunting passengers are some scalpers who are waiting for their opportunity to buy the tickets and attempt to sell them at a higher price.

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