Thousands of counterfeit tickets from China giving entry to the Louvre Museum have been seized by Belgian customs, leading museum authorities to suspect a growing organised crime network targeting French tourist attractions.
Thousands of high-quality fake tickets to the Louvre Museum in Paris were seized by Belgian customs officers at the end of August, French daily Le Parisien reported on Wednesday.
The tickets appear to have been manufactured in China and sold to Chinese tour guides accompanying groups through the museum.
The Louvre, one of the French capital’s most visited tourist attractions, confirmed to FRANCE 24 that that counterfeit entry passes, worth upwards of 36 euros each, had started appearing at the museum from the beginning of August.
Dozens of Chinese tourists were found to be holding fake tickets of varying quality throughout the month.
“A member of staff first spotted a ticket presented by a tour guide on August 12,” a spokesman for the museum told Le Parisien. “It felt strange to the touch and the paper quality was not good. All our staff were immediately put on the alert.”
In the following days, a number of other counterfeit tickets were seized by Louvre staff “that were in every way identical to the genuine article,” the spokesman said.
According to Le Parisien, at the end of August Belgian customs officers contacted the French authorities to say they had found more than 4,000 tickets – worth at least 144,000 euros – in a parcel sent from China.
“The organised criminals behind this scam appear to be working in concert with Chinese tour operators taking groups round French tourist attractions,” the Louvre source said.
“Our tickets are valid for a year. There’s no telling how many are in circulation and there’s no way as yet of calculating the cost of this scam to the museum.”
Date created : 2013-09-11