A lack of performing venues like the Hong Kong Coliseum has led to ticket scalping, a concert organiser has said.
The comment came after a public outcry over scalping for the Dayo Wong stand-up comedy show and a concert by Japanese musician Hisaishi Joe.
Tickets for both events were resold online for several times their original price, with HK$880 tickets on offer for more than HK$15,000.
Patrick Siu, managing director of Wellfit Multimedia Group Limited, said in a radio programme on Friday that there were insufficient performing venues in the city to meet rising demand, as there were more singers holding concerts in Hong Kong.
“This limits the number of shows for each singer. So when [a singer] holds a concert in Hong Kong, the tickets can be resold for a higher price,” he said.
He recalled that Cantopop singers in the 1980s, such as Alan Tam and Samuel Hui, held 40 or more concerts at a time.
“Back then, no one would fail to purchase a ticket,” he said.
Names on tickets
Simon Tse Kar-ho, marketing director of Best Shine Entertainment, said it was misleading to say that internal tickets were given to ticket touts. He said 40 to 50 percent of the tickets would be sold to the public, and that the real scalpers were those who queued up to buy tickets.
Organisers of Hisaishi’s concert had printed buyers’ names on their tickets in an effort to prevent scalping. But both organisers said it is not feasible to apply this to all events, as it would be too time-consuming to check the names of the audience during admission.
On Wednesday, Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor promised during a legislative Q&A session to consider making ticket scalping a criminal offence for performances held at government venues.
According to the current Places of Public Entertainment Ordinance, any person who sells, or offers or exhibits any ticket of private venues that hold entertainment licences at a price exceeding the amount fixed by the activity organiser could be fined HK$2,000.
Lawmaker Ma Fung-kwok, who represents the sports, performing arts, culture and publication constituency, said the regulations do not cover public venues under the Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD), including the Hong Kong Coliseum.
Ma also said the LCSD only required organisers to sell a minimum of 20 percent of the tickets to the public, which had affected the ticket supply and provided opportunities to scalpers.
“Moreover, the punishment for scalping is only a HK$2,000 fine. The scalpers could cover that with the sale of just one ticket,” Ma said.
Lam said the government will also consider making the current penalty tougher.