Thieves have targeted visitors at the 2012 Beijing auto show, stealing photographic equipment and other electronic items worth tens of thousands of yuan.
The first two days of Beijing International Automotive Exhibition, which opened Monday, were reserved for members of the media, with the public being admitted from today until May 2.
Some attendees have accused the expo of having lax security, which is unable to cope with the crowds, and media have reported that passes for the expo are easily available from scalpers.
Organizers of the auto show could not be reached for comment yesterday.
"Although it was called media day, obviously many people who are not reporters or photographers showed up on Monday," a photographer surnamed Zhang told the Global Times yesterday.
Zhang's Canon lens, worth 16,000 yuan ($2,536), was stolen from his backpack. When he went to report the theft, Zhang said he saw over 10 people at a police car also reporting theft of cameras, cell phones or computers.
"Last year, there were fewer theft cases over the whole exhibition compared to Monday's," Zhang remarked, adding that the police told him the information.
By 3 pm on Monday, about 40 cases of theft were reported, either camera lenses or other equipment, priced from several thousand yuan to several tens of thousands, reported the Beijing Evening News yesterday.
Another photographer, Fu Ding, who works with the Legal Mirror, said the exhibition was incredibly crowded.
Fu estimated that around 40,000 people showed up at the expo as 38 press releases were held. Fu said the expo was very spectacular, with 10 indoor and outdoor exhibition areas.
"People can go in with an exhibitors' card, too, and scalpers were charging 1,500 yuan to take people into the expo," he said.
The thieves may have obtained their entry cards from scalpers, reported the Beijing Times yesterday. Two kinds of cards were issued to media, one valid until May 2, and the other valid only for April 23 and 24. Regular expo tickets for the public cost from 100 to 50 yuan, depending on the day.
Shunyi district police told the Global Times that a 27-year-old man, surnamed Sun, was detained on Monday afternoon. In his bags, the police found six camera lenses and an iPhone.
Sun has a prior criminal record for gambling and theft, and will be detained while police investigate further.
Shunyi police also said that visitors should be careful with their belongings, particularly in crowded areas.