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The multi-hop cellular network (MCN) is an evolved paradigm for mobile communications, which integrates the ad hoc characteristics into the conventional cellular systems. Similar to ad hoc networks, the performance of MCNs relies on the hypothesis that each node accepts to forward traffic for the benefit of others, which may not hold with the possible presence of selfish users. In order to stimulate the collaboration among mobile nodes in MCNs, in this paper, we propose a light-weighted secure incentive protocol (LIP). We introduce a novel reward model, in which not the source and/or the destination but the network operator credits the forwarding nodes. It is shown that our model is much more realistic for MCNs in practice and simplifies the payment scheme design as well. LIP exploits a reactive receipt-submission mechanism to identify node behavior, which significantly reduces the communication overhead. Security analysis shows that LIP can resist various attacks. The efficiency of LIP is validated through the performance evaluation.