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May 21, 2010

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Scalpers' latest: Expo reservations

RESERVATION tickets for China Pavilion at the Shanghai World Expo are now being scalped on the Internet for prices ranging from 100 yuan (US$14.64) to 350 yuan.

Sellers, claiming to be tour agency staff, said they can get priority in obtaining group reservation tickets, which they turn around and sell to individuals.

Police said they will crack down on scalpers if they're seen making transactions around the Expo site.

A Shanghai Daily investigation found a man surnamed Zhang who said on a local Internet forum, the Baidu Post Bar, that he applies for plenty of reservation tickets for China Pavilion every day through a travel agency, and was selling the tickets for 350 yuan each.

Zhang said in an interview that he was working for a popular travel agency, Shanghai Spring International Travel Agency, and gets the tickets from the Expo officials under the name of the agency.

However, Zhang Wuan, a spokesman for Shanghai Spring International Travel Agency, said the scalper Zhang was not an employee of the company and denied that Shanghai Spring was in the ticket scalping business.

"He is using the popularity of our company to cheat his customers," Zhang said.

Other ticket sellers said they work for smaller travel agencies.

Zhang said visitors find his advertisement on He tells them to make a reservation a day in advance so he can send in an application with an assigned visitor number.

Then he arranges the meeting place and time with the buyer to finish the deal.

"If you book the tickets in group, I can offer you a great discount - 200 yuan for each ticket," said Zhang.

The ticket scalping has aroused a hot discussion among the Netizens at the post bar, many saying that Zhang was out of his mind to charge so much money for a ticket that could be obtained for free at the Expo site.

Some Netizens also accused him of illegally appropriating public resources for his own profit. They said many other visitors may not able to see the pavilion due to the lack of tickets.

But Zhang said his business was widely welcomed and his customers were queuing up for his tickets.

The travel agency spokesman said visitors in a tour group arranged by the agency don't have to apply for reservation tickets.

Instead, a tour guide applies for entrance for an entire group.

He questioned the source of the tickets and warned visitors to check them carefully, lest they purchase fake ones at a high price.

Some Expo visitors said they saw ticket scalpers selling the daily reservation tickets at European Plaza in Zone B.


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