Beijing hospitals use facial recognition tech to identify scalpers

A group of nurses walks along a corridor at a hospital in Beijing.

A total of 24 Beijing hospitals are using facial recognition to crack down on hospital scalpers, the municipal health authority said on Monday.

According to the Beijing Municipal Health Commission, these hospitals, including Peking University First Hospital, Peking University People's Hospital, Beijing Chaoyang Hospital and Beijing Cancer Hospital, have installed the technology to identify the scalpers, or Huangniu (people who make appointments, then sell them to others at inflated prices for a profit).

China has been working hard to crack down on scalping. The scalpers usually attempt the illegal practice at overcrowded major public hospitals, reselling the tickets for hundreds of yuan from the original price, which obviously increases the difficulty for the patients who really need the tickets.

Earlier this year, the city government made a resolution to take strict steps against the scalpers, including banning them from taking high-speed trains or flights and forbidding them to registering companies or applying for bank loans.

The information of 2,100 scalpers who have been punished by police since 2017, including the profile photos and identity numbers, have been collected by the hospitals.

To further strengthen the management and prevent such practice, many hospitals in Beijing also set up their own apps for registration, which helped standardize the ticket issuance and saved the patients' waiting time.