China Punishes Summer Scalpers

The Chinese authorities have made good on their promise to prosecute those who made money illicitly from last summer’s Olympic Games.

The official Xinhua News Agency reported that a man found guilty of scalping more than 500 tickets to the Games in May was sentenced to two and a half years in jail and fined about $65,000.

The man obtained 527 tickets for two companies in Beijing and Guangzhou by using illegally obtained identification information.

The tickets cost him a total of 230,000 yuan ($34,000) and were bought through the Olympics organizers’ online ticketing system. The man reportedly made a profit of about 50 percent on the face value of the tickets.

Olympics organizers repeatedly announced during the run-up to the Games that anyone caught scalping tickets or reselling them without permission risked arrest and detention.

The police backed up this warning by saying that perpetrators could face terms of “re-education,” meaning they could be sentenced to manual labor camps without trials.

Between May 5 – when the final round of Olympics tickets went on sale – and July 27, police arrested about 100 alleged black marketers thought to be selling tickets for as much as 100 times more than face value.