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Seat sellers won't be beat

AFTER restricting the number of items visitors could carry into the Expo site to crack down on illegal sellers, organizers have noticed a new ruse adopted by those in search of a quick profit.

The illegal venders, no longer able to take small folding seats to sell on-site, are now buying the seats from visitors leaving the site and selling them to those who have just entered at much higher prices.

Song Laixin, a spokesman for the Visitors Service Center, said: "To chase profits, the scalpers have become cleverer."

One scalper said he could buy and sell more than 60 seats every day.

He was buying them for about 5 yuan (US$0.73) from visitors but could sell them for over 15 yuan. Some people just gave them to him for nothing when they were leaving.

Most scalpers sold the seats to visitors lining up at the Saudi Arabia Pavilion and near the China Pavilion. When they sold out, they went to the exits to buy more.

"It is quite difficult to bring seats to the site now, but the new method needs less investment and is more convenient," the scalper said. He said the seats would be useless after visitors left the site, so most were willing to sell at low prices.

A visitor surnamed Luo from Chengdu, Sichuan Province, said she would have just thrown it away, so she preferred to sell it.

Song said he could understand why so many visitors were selling to scalpers, but asked visitors to stop doing so.

Selling folding seats has become big business at the site, even more lucrative than fake Haibao dolls and souvenirs, because of the huge demand.

Some cleaners have even been spotted trying to sell seats they found while on their rounds.


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