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July 17, 2010

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Unlicensed vendors targeted

VISITORS will be asked to deposit items such as umbrellas and foldable stools before entering the World Expo site in an effort to prevent unlicensed vendors from selling such things, the organizer said in a website notice.

The measure took effect yesterday and applies to people taking multiple umbrellas, stools and other items to the Expo.

An increasing number of people were found selling umbrellas, foldable stools and fake souvenirs, which affected operations and damaged the Expo's image, the notice said.

No exact limit will be imposed, but security guards at entrances will be permitted to make a judgement, a Security Department employee said on the hotline for the new rules. If visitors decline to deposit the items, they can be refused entry, the notice said.

Illicit products and ticket selling were rampant across the site. Vendors could be seen on elevated footpaths near Expo Boulevard and near the Expo Culture Center selling fake Haibao key rings.

Other vendors were selling foldable stools. They keep them in bags and walk along lengthy queues outside popular pavilions. The stools were being sold for 30 yuan each.

During the heavy rain yesterday, some visitors said they bought disposable plastic raincoats near the main entrance for 10 yuan each.

Vendors move around and are difficult to catch, but the new rules could avoid the items being brought into the site, said Song Laixin, spokesperson of the Expo Visitors Service Center.

These vendors infringe the rights of both sponsors, who have been authorized to sell Expo souvenirs, and visitors, who receive poor quality goods, Song said.

The organizer also said that individuals selling Expo tickets or reservation slips to the China Pavilion would be sent to the police if it involved a "huge" number.

Song said a person was caught selling fake reservation tickets to the China Pavilion earlier this month. Police said the person had more than 100 fake tickets.

Previously, some travel agents were found selling tickets to the China Pavilion for 100 yuan each. Authorized agencies can get about a quarter of the 30,000 tickets to the pavilion every day. They sell any leftover tickets to others.

On Thursday, the organizer said large amounts of boxed meals or food would be confiscated at the entrance.


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