276 Olympic ticket scalpers deported

China Daily
Updated: 2008-08-21 07:33


Several foreigners accused of trying to sell tickets for the Beijing Olympics at overinflated prices were escorted to the airport and asked to leave the country over the weekend, a police spokesman said late on Tuesday.

Between Friday and Sunday, police questioned a total of 276 "scalpers", 37 of whom were foreigners, Zhang Xiaoguang of the Beijing municipal public security bureau said.

The majority of the suspects were trying to sell tickets at inflated prices in areas close to the main venues, including the Bird's Nest, Water Cube and the Beijing Olympic Basketball Gymnasium, he said.

A total of 613 Games tickets were also seized by police, he said.

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Eighteen of the scalpers have had their stays in China shortened or have already been taken to the airport and asked to leave, Zhang said, without elaborating.

Seven others will be detained, he said.

The rest were released after questioning and being issued with warnings and fines, he said.

In one case, an Italian man was detained on Friday near the Bird's Nest for attempting to sell two tickets, each of which had a face value of 300 yuan ($44), for 1,000 yuan a piece, Zhang said.

The man, who was found to be in possession of 65 Games tickets, admitted later that he had purchased about 130 tickets in his home country through various channels and had resold about half of them in China, he said.

He will be detained for five days, Zhang said.

Also, between May 5, when the third round of ticket sales began, and July 27, police in Beijing apprehended about 100 Chinese scalpers, some of whom were accused of trying to resell Games tickets for up to 100 times their face value, the public security bureau said earlier.

Under Chinese law, anyone found guilty of ticket scalping is subject to a fine or detention of up to 15 days.

Zhang said police had put up posters in both Chinese and English at key areas, such as the Beitucheng subway station, warning people of the serious consequences for those found guilty of ticket scalping.

A China Daily reporter visited the subway station on Aug 14, the day before the police crackdown began, and found several groups of both domestic and foreign scalpers openly plying their trade.

On a similar visit made yesterday, however, the numbers had been significantly reduced.

China Daily-Xinhua

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