Healthcare Scalpers Arrested in China

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Beijing police have arrested 29 gang members accused of scalping hospital-appointment tickets and selling them at 15 times their normal rates. 14 of them are under criminal detention.

Police say the gang purchased appoitnment tickets via official hospital hotlines and an app. run by the localhealth bureu.

The gang also used the app. to recruit unsuspecting customers. The standard price for a scalped ticket was about $5,400 or 15 times its normal price.

Most Chinese hospitals require people to buy registration tickets before they can see doctors or receive treatment. The gang scalped tickets for specialized appointments, which are scarce. They also used the popular app. WeChat to communicate with other scalpers.

Most scalped tickets were sold for appointments at Air Force General Hospital in Beijing.

Police launched a crackdown on scalpers in January after a video of a woman ranting against the crime had gone viral. She had failed to secure a ticket for her paralyzed mother after having waited in line at a Beijing hospital for a day.

In most cases, the person booking the appointment doesn’t have to be the person who ends up seeing the doctor.

This was the first such case investigated by Beijing’s crime squad.

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