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September 16, 2011

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Workers put in jail for smoking at big market

ABOUT 20 store workers have been jailed for smoking in the famous Qipu Road Clothing Market in recent months, the district fire control authority said yesterday.

The violators, store salespersons and owners, were caught by police and punished with jail terms of three to five days, said Zhou Quanming, captain of the Zhabei District fire-control team.

The garment market on Qipu Road attracts more than 100,000 customers a day with its mostly aged and narrow corridors and stores packed with flammable clothing and materials. Because of the wide variety and low prices, foreigners have come to call it "Cheap Road Market," a play on the street name Qipu.

The market has been targeted for fire-control attention since the city passed its public smoking law last March.

"There's no second chance for the store workers. The detention was announced immediately the first time they were caught smoking," said the fire-control team captain.

The anti-smoking enforcement at the market is much more stringent than at other public venues. All store owners have signed agreements with the market management, pledging they would not smoke at the risk of police detention.

Police have sent a special team on daily patrol at the market.

Store runners also can be fined for turning a blind eye to their customers smoking inside, police said.

The penalty is up to 500 yuan (US$78)each time.


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