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China deporting foreigners for ticket scalping

world Updated: Aug 21, 2008 12:01 IST

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China has detained seven foreigners accused of trying to scalp Olympic tickets and deported more than a dozen others, the

China Daily newspaper

said on Thursday.

Police have questioned 276 scalpers, 37 of them foreigners, the paper quoted Zhang Xiaoguang of the Beijing municipal police security bureau as saying.

Most of the suspects tried to sell tickets around the main Olympics venues, including the Bird's Nest, the Water Cube, and the basketball gymnasium.

Eighteen foreigners have already been deported or had their stay in China shortened, it said. Seven will be detained, the paper said without giving details. The rest were released after questioning and issued with a warning or fine.

A man who answered the phone at the Public Security Bureau said he needed to consult relevant officials before answering questions. Police seized 613 games tickets,

the China Daily

said. It did not say what happened to the Chinese scalpers. Under Chinese law, they can be detained for up to 15 days. The police have also raised the threat of re-education through labor, where Chinese can be sentenced to manual labor camps without trial. Between May 5, when the final round of Olympic ticket sales began in China, and July 27, police caught about 100 Chinese black marketers, some whom tried to sell tickets at up to 100 times their original value, the paper said.

Touts offering tickets can still be heard near the beginning of the Olympic subway line that leads to the Olympic Green, despite a large sign saying it is illegal.

The back of Olympic tickets says they cannot be resold or traded, and opening and closing ceremony tickets can only be transferred once to some one approved by the organize