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September 1, 2010

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Guide-scalper nexus busted

SOME tourist guides have been found ganging up with scalpers to make a profit by trading World Expo tickets and pavilion reserve tickets, city police said yesterday.

Pavilion staff were also illegally allowing visitors to enter via staff passages after taking money, police said.

Zhao Yong, deputy chief with the police Economic Crime Investigation Department, said, "The collusions are mostly individual cases and the offenders will be severely punished." Zhao supervises security at the Expo site.

The police would also intensify their crackdown on the underground trading of Expo tickets, Zhao said.

Staff would be fired if it was confirmed that they had colluded with scalpers or took bribes while tourism agencies would be warned about guides who are involved in scalping, police said.

In one recent case, police uncovered a scalpers' gang suspected of taking advantage of tickets designated for group students.

Normally, a student group of 30 can get four extra Expo tickets free for teachers.

The tour guides responsible for the group would then secretly tell the scalpers who would use fake teacher's certificates to claim the free tickets.

Police said they had discovered 36 fake teacher's certificates from one suspect.

The tour guides were also found passing on extra reserve tickets to scalpers, police said.

Earlier, Shanghai Daily reporters discovered that some individuals and travel agencies had worked out their guanxi and were providing World Expo VIP tours that are not supposed to be for sale. Offers varied from 500 yuan (US$74) to 1,500 yuan.

Police said they will team up with the market watchdog and urban management authorities on the crackdown. A 230-member law enforcement team patrols inside the Expo site every day.

On July 14, police caught a gang of eight persons making and selling fake reserve tickets of the China Pavilion, one of the most popular pavilions at the Expo site.

The city also plans to offer rewards to those who provide tips on scalping or other Expo-related crimes.

In a recent crackdown from July 24 to August 20, police nabbed more than 3,000 suspects involved in Expo ticket scalping and selling of fake Expo licensed products.

More than 5,000 Expo tickets, used or fake ones, as well as 900 reserve tickets were seized, police said.


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