Police bust Beijing gang selling fake train tickets

Updated: 2008-01-18 22:51

Chinese police have captured five scalpers and confiscated more than 960 forged train tickets worth about 180,000 yuan (US$25,000) prior to the peak Lunar New Year travel season.

The gang had been exchanging counterfeit tickets for real ones from migrant workers who were eager to return home for family reunions during the festival that falls on February 7, according to an initial investigation.

They altered cheap standing tickets into expensive ones for seats and charged much higher prices to migrants who appeared "unsophisticated", said a gang member who identified himself as Zhang.

The real ones were either returned to the ticket office or sold to other passengers.

Police arrested all the gang members at Beijing Railway Station and Beijing West Railway Station in mid-December after nearly two months of investigation. They confiscated more than 150 blades and various other tools used to alter the paper tickets.

The case, the largest of its kind in the city in 26 years, is still under investigation.

The traditional Chinese holiday, also known as the Spring Festival, usually boosts rail travel as many passengers, particularly college students and migrants, make their way home and then return within a 40-day period. The peak passenger flow always makes train ticket purchase difficult.

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