Beijing hospitals use facial recognition systems to curb scalpers

By Chen Xi Source:Global Times Published: 2019/2/24 18:29:36

A plainclothes policeman catches a scalper at the Beijing Children's Hospital on Thursday morning. The winter vacation meant more parents brought their children to the hospital for medical treatment, and because tickets are required to receive treatment, scalpers seized the opportunity to make money. Photo: CFP

Hospitals in Beijing have included the information of 2,100 scalpers in their facial recognition system, which helps more than 30 medical institutes in the capital to better crack down scalpers.

The face recognition systems used in more than 30 medical institutes in Beijing can immediately distinguish the registered faces of scalpers who make profits by reselling outpatient appointment tickets at a higher price to other patients, Beijing Daily reported.

Besides, a total of 21 major hospitals in the capital, including Peking University People's Hospital and Beijing Tiantan Hospital of Capital Medical University, would share the information of 2,100 scalpers, including their profile photos and identity numbers, who have been punished by police since 2017, according to Beijing Municipal Health Commission (BMHC) on Friday.

It also said that Beijing would conduct joint disciplinary actions against the scalpers, including forbidding them from acting as a corporate legal representative and banning them from taking high-speed trains.

"Ticket scalping is a major problem at most hospitals. I heard the scalpers could sell second-hand tickets to the patients for at least 300 yuan ($45) from the original price of 10 yuan," a doctor of traditional Chinese medicine surnamed Zhang at the Wuqing Renhe Hospital in Tianjin Municipality told the Global Times on Sunday.

It would also continue to promote the unified management of the registered tickets, standardize the issuance, improve technology of the registration, and cut off the connections between the apps for commercial registration and formal medical institutes, the Health News reported.

"I hope hospitals in Tianjin and other places in China could also soon equip themselves with the face recognition systems," said Zhang.

More than 900 traffickers in Beijing were detained in 2018, according to BMHC. 

Well-equipped hospitals in Beijing attract patients nationwide, which leads to overcrowding and increases the difficulty to get an appointment.

Though telephone and internet reservations were introduced to make bookings more convenient in recent years, scalping remains rampant in large hospitals in Beijing and other big cities.

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