Monday, 7 April 2014

Hospital ticket scalpers fight outside Beijing hospital gate

by Michael Woodhead
A gang knife fight that erupted outside the door of Beijing University Hospital in February has been revealed as a turf war between hospital ticket scalpers.
Twelve people have been arrested and seven charged with gang-related activities after a police investigation into the scuffle found that it was related to the re-sale of hospital registration slips.
In China, patients face long waits in queues at a counter to 'register' and get a number before they can make an appointment to see a doctor. In a way similar to tickets for trains and entertainment events, criminal scalper gangs obtain these tickets and re-sell them at a markup to people who want to jump the queue.
On the 25th February Xicheng police were called out to a mass fight with knives at the Beijing University Hopistal door. When they arrived they found tow injured men and a women, but the culprits had fled. The injured trio told police it was a fight between friends that had got out of hand - and they refused to co-operate or say any more. Police suspected there was more to the incident and set up a task force to investigate. They subsequently found that the fight was over protection money demanded by a local gang from a group of ticket scalpers working around the gates and doors of the hospital. The gang regarded the hospital as their territory and demanded payment from the scalpers. When there was a dispute about payment, the fight broke out. The police arrested twelve people who now face charges of assault as well as gang-related illegal financial activity.

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