Reporter alleges threats for toll road story

A Beijing Capital Airport Expressway manager threatened her for a story about toll trickery, a China Central Television (CCTV) reporter claimed on Sunday.

Feng Lei, deputy director of the Capital Airport Expressway Development Company, told his interviewer on Saturday, “I watched your show. It’s you in the show, but you will pay for your show,” reporter Xue Chen alleged on her microblog at sina.com on Sunday. Xue could not be reached for comment on Monday.

Although the airport expressway officially changed from charging 10 yuan ($1.54) both ways to one way only on October 1, 2009, toll collectors never reminded road users and still collected a second toll for nearly two years, CCTV has reported in two shows on the news channel since Thursday.

Xue’s colleague Ji Yuan backed up Xue’s allegations on his microblog on Sunday. “Don’t make trouble for yourself,” Ji pasted Feng’s alleged words on his microblog. “You have a family and you have to live in Beijing, don’t you?”

“Feng cannot receive an interview in person,” an official surnamed Liu with the Party and Masses Work Department of the expressway development company told the Global Times on Monday.

“You have to send our company an interview outline.”

The fax to the company received no answer on Monday.

Passengers pay both ways if they fail to notice a tollgate sign at the Beijing Capital International Airport, a hotline operator of the road monitor center at the expressway development company confirmed to the Global Times on Monday.

“We can’t refund the money to passengers,” the No.3 hotline operator told the Global Times on condition of anonymity.

There are three notices including the toll invoice, a perspex sign beside the toll collector and a green billboard by the tollgate all informing drivers that they just need to pay once going to and from the airport, according to the operator.

Returning drivers are supposed to show an invoice at the tollgate to pass through without extra charge.

Capital Airport Expressway was completed in September 1993 with a 1.16 billion yuan ($178.9 million) investment, including a 765 million yuan ($117.98) bank loan.

The National Audit Office reported in 2008 the airport expressway had collected 3.2 billion yuan ($493.5 million) as of 2005. By 2026, the tollgate will have collected more than 9 billion yuan ($1.39 billion), CCTV reported.

Peking University law professor Wang Xilin told CCTV that “the tollgate should give back the improper profits to drivers,” as the road should open for free after the loan was recovered.

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