Ocean Park had to suspend online sales of its special concessionary tickets in celebration of its 40th anniversary after it was found that some customers managed to jump queues by exploiting a different link to buy tickets.
About 28,000 tickets priced at HK$40 each were to go on public sale online at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Apple Daily reports.
When Apple Daily reporters entered the ticketing site after the sales started, an error message and some web code appeared on the screen.
The system started working again after half an hour but only to show another message that the queue had reached 30,000 people and that ticket sales would be suspended.
Those who managed to access the ticketing site were asked to wait and advised not to refresh the page or risk queuing up again.
Many netizens complained that there was no progress after waiting for half an hour while others said they gave up after an hour of waiting in front of the computer.
Some netizens who are more familiar with website coding found that there was a shortcut to the ticketing service by changing the word “calendar” in the hyperlink to “anniversary”, which would have spared them from waiting in the online queue.
They were able to complete the transactions within minutes. They later shared their tricks on online discussion forums.
Park officials later said they had noticed abnormal procedures in buying tickets, hence they decided to stop the sales immediately.
The park has decided to allocate an extra 48,000 discounted tickets to customers who will have to go to the park in person to buy them and use them on the same date.
Local residents can now go to Ocean Park during January 16 to 27 to buy up to four HK$40 tickets using their Hong Kong ID.
There will be a daily quota of 4,000 tickets. Those who missed out on the offer can buy up to four tickets at a 20 percent discount.
Many netizens were displeased with the new ticketing arrangements, Ming Pao Daily reports.
More than 300 angry reactions swamped Ocean Park’s Facebook page, with people saying it would mean having to spend more than five hours at the ticketing box if they have to make purchases in person.
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