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Plans to extend Hong Kong anti-touting laws

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam has said her government will look at criminalising the touting of tickets for shows at publicly run venues, in response to controversy over high secondary market prices.

The resale of tickets for private venues above face value is already illegal under Hong Kong’s Places of Public Entertainment (POPE) ordinance, but Lam – who was appointed chief executive of the special administrative region (SAR) of China last year – says she wants to extend the ban to venues run by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD).

The LCSD operates dozens of sports and entertainment venues on both Hong Kong Island and the New Territories, including the 40,000-capacity Hong Kong Stadium and 3,500-cap. Queen Elizabeth Stadium.

“The Leisure and Cultural Services Department will evaluate the Places of Public Entertainment Ordinance to see if it can be expanded to cover the government premises, so as to make ticket scalping a criminal offence,” she said yesterday, according to the SCMP.

“Jail terms would definitely deter people”

She added the government “will also consider whether to raise the punishment” for violating the POPE regulations on ticket reselling, which is currently a maximum fine of HK$2,000 (US$255).

The intervention by Lam follows a public outcry after tickets for shows by comedian Dayo Wong Tze-wah and Taiwanese rock band Mayday appeared on Viagogo for an up to five-fold mark-up.

Ma Fung-kwok, a legislator for the pro-Beijing New Century Forum, said the territory should consider consider jail terms for touts, which would “definitely deter people, but of course that would also depend on how acceptable society finds that punishment.”

Ma also suggested event promoters could be forced to increase the minimum allocation of ticket inventory available for public sale, which is currently 20%.


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