Eleven people, all of them from mainland China, were arrested in Hong Kong over the weekend for trying to resell tickets to concerts of Cantopop superstar Andy Lau Tak-wah at vastly inflated prices.
In an undercover operation aimed at curbing the growing menace of ticket scalping, the police, along with officers from the Immigration Department, managed to catch the ticket touts red-handed after posing as interested buyers.
As Lau kicked off his latest world tour with a concert in Hong Kong on Saturday, plain-clothed law enforcement officers mingled with the crowds outside the concert venue — Hong Kong Coliseum — to check for illegal ticket-selling activities.
According to Wong Siu-cheung, acting commander of the police’s Hung Hom division, the scalpers took the initiative to approach the undercover police officers who were posing as Andy Lau fans.
The mainlanders tried to sell HK$380 tickets for HK$2,500, HK$580 tickets for HK$1,700 to HK$3,500, and HK$980 tickets for HK$3,500 to HK$5,000, Wong said, news website hk01.com reports.
Officers seized 18 concert tickets from the touts, and said they were trying to determine how the scalpers managed to get their hands on so many passes.
The police pointed out the concert organizers only sold the tickets online, and not through any physical ticket sales outlet.
According to reports, the arrested mainlanders included six men and five women, aged 26 to 53. All of them were said be holding two-way permits.
As such, they were arrested for breach of condition of stay, in line with section 41 of the Immigration Ordinance.
Authorities said there is no evidence, as of now, that the mainlanders were working for any ticket scalping gang.
Following the weekend bust, the police said they will evaluate the effectiveness of the operation. They said they won’t rule out more such operations for upcoming concerts in the city.
Meanwhile, they urged the public to buy tickets to shows at performance venues only through lawful and normal channels.
Saturday’s undercover operation came as ticket-scalping has become increasingly rampant in the city in the recent past, especially for events featuring top-notch artistes.
Recognizing the scale of the problem, the government has been looking to review the existing laws related to entertainment venues to deter illegal ticket-selling activities.
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