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Man gets heavy penalty for Olympic ticket touting
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A man was sentenced to two and a half years in jail and a fine of 447,000 yuan (about US$65,000) for illegal scalping of more than 500 Olympic tickets.

It is the biggest Olympic ticket scalping case trialed in Beijing so far.

The 41-year-old man, surnamed He, agreed to buy Olympic tickets for two companies in Beijing and Guangzhou at prices 50 percent to 60 percent higher than the official ones, according to the Xicheng District People's Court.

He booked 527 Olympic tickets with 230,000 yuan (about US$34,000) through the online ticketing system, using 2,500 pieces of identity information illegally obtained through his friend's construction company and other means, the court said.

He was arrested by police on May 13 this year.

Organizers of the Beijing Olympics had repeatedly warned that "resale of Olympic tickets for profit is illegal" and vowed to "support the authorities to crack down on suspected illegal transactions."

Police had warned anyone found scalping tickets would face penalties, which in some cases could be 10 to 15 days in detention.

A total of 7 million tickets for the August 8-24 Games are available, three quarters of which were sold inside China, through the official ticketing website or at the Bank of China ticket outlets.

Buyers and those who wished to transfer their tickets were required to produce their identity cards to print the tickets or do transactions at designated branches of the Bank of China. Each ticket is only transferable once.

(Xinhua News Agency November 16, 2008)

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