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Beijing police seize 276 Olympic ticket scalpers
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21:39, August 19, 2008

Beijing police have seized 276 suspects for scalping Olympic Games tickets in the past five days, including 37 foreigners, a police spokesman said on Tuesday.

Police also confiscated 613 Games tickets in the latest crackdown on scalpers that started on Aug. 15 around major Olympic venues, such as the National Stadium, also known as "Bird's Nest", the National Aquatics Center, or the "Water Cube", and the Beijing Olympic Basketball Gymnasium, said Zhang Xiaoguang of the Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau.

The suspects were accused of reselling the tickets at inflated prices, several times the face value.

Zhang said seven of the foreign scalpers would face detention for a certain period, 18 would have their stay in the country shortened and the rest had been released after being warned and fined.

In one case, an Italian was detained by police on Aug. 15 near the "Bird's Nest" for attempting to scalp two tickets. Each had a face value of 300 yuan (43.65 U.S. dollars), but the man planned to resell them at 1,000 yuan each. Police also found 65 Games tickets with him.

He confessed he had purchased about 130 Olympic tickets in his own country through various channels and had resold about half in China.

He would face five days in detention, Zhang said.

Beijing police also apprehended about 100 domestic scalpers from May 5, when the third phase of domestic ticket sales started, through July 27. They were accused of reselling the tickets at inflated prices of up to 100 times the face value.

Police had warned anyone found scalping tickets would face penalties, which in some cases could be 10 to 15 days in detention.

Source: Xinhua

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