More tickets for public to combat scalping

Local | Stella Wong and Sophie Hui 10 Apr 2019

In a bid to combat ticket scalping, more tickets for large-scale concerts held at the Hong Kong Coliseum and Queen Elizabeth Stadium will be available for sale to the public starting July, the government announced yesterday.

For events with at least four consecutive shows, the Leisure and Cultural Services Department has decided to lift the lower limit of the public sale tickets percentage from 20 to 30 percent, while the upper limit of internal sale will be lowered from 80 to 70 percent.

The new measure will apply to the booking application received by the development in or after July, and is not limited to events that sell tickets via Urban Ticketing System, according to a statement by the department.

Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong lawmaker Edward Lau Kwok-fan said he welcomed the move, but criticized it as "too small" and "too conservative."

He suggested increasing the public sale proportion according to the number of shows, as more shows means it will be popular and thus more tickets should be sold to the public.

He said such an adjustment is the "fastest and easiest" measure the government can implement now, but it won't achieve much in combating ticket scalping.

"Increasing the proportion of public sales does not mean that scalpers won't buy tickets as well," he said.

Lau urged the authorities to further increase the penalty for ticket scalping by amending the law. Currently, reselling tickets without consent is illegal and offenders can be fined up to HK$2,000.

He also suggested establishing a real-name registration system with a sampling inspection in order to eliminate concerns that verifying everyone's identity will lengthen the entry procedure.

A Performing Industry Association spokesman said it is disappointed the government has subjectively transferred the problem to the industry, and insisted changes in ticket sales cannot solve the problem.

Last year, the Home Affairs Department announced that over-the-counter sales for popular concerts at the Hong Kong Coliseum would be halted, meaning people can only buy tickets over the internet, mobile applications and via hotlines.

The move came after the public voiced their anger towards ticket scalping for popular shows, including those by comedian Dayo Wong Tze-wah and superstar Andy Lau Tak-wah.

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