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December 15, 2011

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Train ticket scalpers hit with fines, jail terms

FIFTY-SEVEN scalpers have been fined a total of 1.86 million yuan (US$292,000) for reselling 5,200 train tickets this year, the Shanghai Railway Transportation Intermediate People's Court said yesterday.

Twenty of them were sentenced to six months' detention to one year in prison. The heaviest sentence for a scalper could be three years' imprisonment, the court said.

Most of the suspects, involved in 43 cases, were apprehended while scalping tickets during this year's Spring Festival and National Day holidays, which are heavy travel periods.

The estimated amount involved was nearly 920,000 yuan, the court said.

In one case, five people from neighboring Jiangsu Province were sentenced to seven to 11 months in prison. The group resold more than 140 train tickets from Shanghai to Wuxi, Chengdu and Shenyang in January before the Spring Festival.

Each ticket was priced 15 yuan higher than its face value, the court heard.

After the real-name booking system took effect on June 1, scalpers seldom resold bullet train tickets, which require ID cards or other legal documents.

Instead, most train tickets police seized were prefixed with a K, which are trains popular among migrant workers for low prices even though they require taking more time to get home than taking a bullet train, the court said.

The Spring Festival and National Day holidays are two peak periods when train tickets are always at a shortage.

The scalpers took advantage to make profits by reselling tickets at higher prices.


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