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February 22, 2010

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City police detain a man over Expo scam

A MAN has been detained for allegedly swindling 380,000 yuan (US$55,645) for selling World Expo tickets he never had, police officers said yesterday.

The suspect surnamed Ou from Hong Kong convinced a travel agency that he had access to cheap Expo tickets, police said. Based on the agency's demand for 5,000 tickets, Ou said he could lower the price of a one-day Expo ticket to 81 yuan. The tickets have a face value of 130 yuan.

Coveting the cheap price, the agency in June signed a contract with Ou to buy 5,000 tickets for 405,000 yuan, police said. Ou required a 200,000 yuan deposit.

A female employee of the agency's hotel partner also booked 1,500 tickets from Ou. She paid 120 yuan per ticket for a total of 180,000 yuan.

Police said they didn't know why the woman purchased so many tickets.

Ou made the deals without showing any sample tickets.

"The travel agency can use tickets for its Expo tours to Shanghai," said police officer Huang Li. "But the agency became careless when its employees saw a chance for an easy profit."

Ou was caught last month in a hotel in Shanghai, police said, adding that he had spent most of the money.

The 60-year-old suspect owned an unlicensed travel agency in Shanghai that was losing money. Ou used several ways to spread the lie that he had access to cheap Expo tickets, police said.


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