Transit Police have busted a counterfeit ring accused of selling fake TransLink monthly transit passes that were made in China.
Insp. Brian MacDonald said counterfeit two-zone FareCards that normally sell for $110 were marketed for about $90 to $100 through Chinese and English ads on social networking sites.
“It was a fairly sophisticated operation,” he said, adding hundreds of passes were made and sold.
Xue Liu, a 22-year-old Chinese citizen living in Vancouver, is charged with three charges of forgery, possession and presentation of forged documents.
Four other Vancouver residents – 23-year-old Brian Anthony Nardi, 26-year-old Jason Ka-Yiu Law, 29-year-old Thunyapa Siriprapakorn and 27-year-old Jessica Tsz Ching Woo – face charges of possessing or presenting forgeries.
Liu and Siriprapakorn, a Thai citizen, are here on student or visitor visas.
A third foreign national has been deported for being in Canada illegally as a result of the eight-month investigation, which is continuing and could lead to more charges.
It’s illegal to buy transit passes from anyone but a licensed FareDealer, MacDonald said.
“People who buy these are putting themselves at significant risk,” he said, adding violators could get a $173 ticket or face criminal charges depending on the circumstances.
TransLink expects pass counterfeiting and illegal reselling of tickets will subside in 2013 when it rolls out its Compass smart card payment system.