China detains 17 foreigners in crackdown on ticket touts

August 17th, 2008 - 11:16 am ICT by IANS  

Beijing, Aug 17 (DPA) Chinese police have detained at least 17 foreigners in a crackdown on illegal ticket sales outside Olympic venues, state media said Sunday. The foreign nationals of unidentified countries were among 110 people arrested in a sweep of ticket touts near the Olympic Green and the Wukesong basketball stadium Friday, the semi-official China News Service quoted officials as saying.

An earlier report by the official Xinhua news agency quoted Beijing police spokesman Shi Weiping as saying a Dutch citizen was caught trying to sell 24 tickets for more than 10 times their face value near the Water Cube aquatics’ centre Friday.

A Chinese woman was also arrested for offering two gymnastics tickets with a face value of 150 yuan for 1,000 yuan (about $9.5) each, Shi said.

Police official Wang Wenjie told the China Daily newspaper that about 340 tickets were confiscated in Friday’s operation.

Wang said Chinese law allowed police to detain the ticket touts for up to 15 days.

Police planned to put up notices in English and Chinese around the Olympic venues to warn people of the “serious consequences” of ticket scalping, he said.

Ticket touts were openly buying and selling tickets near the Water Cube earlier this week, with police apparently ignoring the activity.

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