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Dublin: 9°C Tuesday 28 September 2021

Investigation at the Louvre after thousands of fake tickets found

Some of the tickets being presented by Chinese tourists were said to be “perfect clones”.

No pictures of the fake tickets were available, so here's a fake Mona Lisa
No pictures of the fake tickets were available, so here's a fake Mona Lisa
Image: Alan O'Rourke / Sheepstealers.ie via Flickr/Creative Commons

FRENCH POLICE ARE investigating an apparent scam involving fake tickets for the Louvre museum in Paris after top-quality counterfeits were found in the hands of Chinese tourists.

The probe was launched after agents found false tickets being used on several occasions last month by Chinese tourists and tour guides, a source at the Louvre — one of the world’s largest and most-visited museums — told AFP.

At first the tickets were of poor quality, but then some seized on 14 August were found to be of “very good quality, perfect clones of our tickets”, the source said.

The museum filed a criminal complaint on 15 August.

“We uncovered several more fake tickets in the following days, but we have not intercepted any since 26 August,” the source said.

“We are being very watchful because these tickets are valid for a year.”

A judicial official said police had questioned several tour guides in connection with the case but that no charges had been laid.

The source said that around the same time the tickets were discovered, Belgian customs officials alerted French authorities that they had seized about 3,600 counterfeit tickets for the Louvre hidden in a package sent from China.

The Louvre — home to the Mona Lisa, the Venus de Milo and other famed artworks — is one of Paris’s most-frequented sites, with about nine million visitors a year.

Standard tickets for the museum’s permanent collection cost between €11.60 and €13.60.

In April, the museum was forced to close for a day after workers staged a walkout to protest what staff said were increasingly aggressive gangs of pickpockets targeting the site.

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