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Blame illegal traders, not locals

By ZHANG ZHOUXIANG | China Daily | Updated: 2020-09-17 07:37


Dunhuang is a scenic spot in Northwest China's Gansu province, well-known for its Mogao Grottoes featuring murals and sculptures among other things, some more than 1,000 years old.

However, on Monday the place was in the news for something else, something less savory. Media reports said that some people put up a "public toilet" signboard on the way to Dunhuang, making those wanting to relieve themselves take a detour off the main road, the terrain changed. The motorists hit a pile of sand where their vehicles got trapped. Soon they came face to face with those who had laid the trap, able-bodied men ready to pull their vehicle out of the mess for a price.

On Monday, a microblogger shared a video showing how he tried to help the trapped car in front of his, and several persons emerged to stop him, while offering their services for a price.

On Tuesday, the Dunhuang police said they had arrested five men for suspected fraud and detained two against whom they plan to press charges.

Such frauds usually spell doom for tourist places, with many asking tourists to be on their guard. However, it is hoped that this was a one-off case and will not harm Dunhuang's tourism industry.

Local residents do not benefit from such misdeeds. On the contrary, declining tourist numbers will mean lower income for many.

The law-abiding traders and residents living near tourist spots should not allow such scams to strike root in their midst as once tourists stop coming, they will all be left in the lurch. At the slightest suspicion, they should call the police and alert them about any illegal or suspicious activities, so that fewer tourists are cheated this way. It is time more residents came forward to save the local tourism industry.

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