Thumb's down for real-name ticket scheme

Top News | Phoenix Un Apr 16, 2018
Printing names on tickets to prevent scalpers will not work, according to concert organizers, who instead want tougher laws put in place.

Citizens were enraged as many of the tickets for recent events by comedian Dayo Wong Tze-wah and Japanese musician Hisaishi Joe were monopolized by scalpers, who resold the tickets online for up to 10 times their original price.

Answering questions by legislator Ma Fung-kwok in the Legislative Council, Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said the highly outdated laws governing ticket scalpers would be reviewed to include all government venues and make scalping a criminal offense.

Ma also suggested increasing the number of tickets to be sold to the public as the current system allows up to 80 percent of the tickets to be reserved for internal subscription.

The real-name system was trialed at Hisaishi's concert, where buyers' names were printed on the tickets in order to prevent scalpers from reselling them.

But Lai Sin-yee, a fan of the Japanese singer, told yesterday's City Forum that scalpers still seemed to have access to a stable supply of tickets.

She said some tickets from scalpers were from the internal subscription quota.

"I was heartbroken as scalpers were selling the tickets for up to HK$20,000," Lai said. "They would prefer leaving seats empty if they did not get their money. The organizers don't care as long as they get all the tickets sold."

Lisa Hui Ping-sum, vice chairwoman of the Performing Industry Association, said it is necessary to make scalping a criminal offense.

But she does not think it is feasible to print names on tickets.

"There are more than 10,000 seats at the Hong Kong Coliseum," Hui said. "Who will be willing to queue up for three hours just to have their identity verified? That would mean we could only have concerts on weekends."

Chow Kim-hung, marketing and promotion manager of Wow Music, said they used the real-name system for singer Endy Chow Kwok-yin's concert, which was attended by 1,000 people. It took more than a month, using 10 staff, to complete the process.

"Large concerts at the Hong Kong Coliseum will be impossible as it might need 1,000 staff to work for half a year," Chow said.

Singer Peter Cheung Shung-tak is against increasing the number of tickets available for the public. He said the internal subscription quota is very important especially for smaller concerts which might not sell out.

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