Louvre in Paris fears fake Chinese ticket scam

File photo of Louvre Museum in Paris
Image caption The Louvre Museum in Paris receives around nine million visitors a year

French police are investigating a possible scam involving thousands of fake tickets for Paris's Louvre museum.

The museum was alerted after it found fake tickets were used on several occasions by Chinese tourists and guides during August, a source told Agence France Presse.

The same source said Belgian customs had, around the same time, found 3,600 fake tickets for the Louvre hidden in a package sent from China.

The Louvre is a top tourist attraction.

Housing famous art works such as the Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo, it is one of the French capital's most visited sites and attracts some nine million people a year.

The first counterfeit tickets to be found on 12 August were quickly found to be forgeries.

"The ticket's texture was strange to touch and the general quality of the paper used wasn't good. The ink appeared to have run," a museum source told the Parisien newspaper.

But then some seized two days later were found to be of "very good quality, perfect clones of our tickets".

A criminal complaint was filed with the police on 15 August.

"We uncovered several more fake tickets in the following days, but we have not intercepted any since 26 August," a source told AFP.

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

A judicial official was quoted as saying that several tour guides had been questioned in connection with the case but that no charges had been filed.

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