Tickets for a series of concerts featuring Hong Kong’s biggest boy band Mirror went on sale on Tuesday. Some fans complained of agonising hours-long waits to get tickets, which, in an attempt to foil touts, required real-name registration.

Emily told HKFP that she had five screens set up – two computers, two tablets and one phone – to try and secure tickets on the Urbtix website to one of Mirror’s 12 shows between July 25 and August 6 at the Hong Kong Coliseum.

Mirror concert
Mirror’s concert to be held between July and August. Photo: MIRROR, via Facebook.

Emily told HKFP that she thought the real-name registration requirement helped to reduce the number of ticket scalpers. Touts had been offering tickets for Mirror’s shows for up to HK$400,000 each.

“Now it really comes down to our own internet speed and quickness of our fingers,” the 15-year-old said. “It allows real fans of Mirror the opportunity to buy [their tickets].”

“But the fly in the ointment is that… [the Urbtix] website is really slow,” she added.

Urbtix is operated by the government’s Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD).

The Form 3 secondary school student said she switched on her computers at home before going to school on Tuesday morning and had enlisted her family members – also Mirror fans – to help access the ticket purchasing website. Tickets sales started at 10 a.m.

Mirror tickets
Over 11,000 tickets remained available as of Tuesday 4:30 p.m. It was over six hours after the public sale started. Photo: Screenshot, via URBTIX.

However, even with the help of five devices, Emily said that by 4 p.m. she still had not secured seats at her idols’ live shows.

The young fan said she did not have much emotion as she had previously failed twice to get tickets during priority sales. “I expected that I won’t have the chance to watch [them],” she said.

As of 6 p.m. on Tuesday, there were over 5,000 tickets available, around 13.6 per cent of the total.

‘Generally smooth’

Fifteen minutes after Mirror ticket sales started, the Home Affairs Bureau posted a message on its Facebook page saying that “real-name registration system for Hong Kong Coliseum concert operates smoothly.”

According to the post, Acting Secretary for Home Affairs Jack Chan and the Director of Leisure and Cultural Services Vincent Liu had paid “special attention” to the start of ticket sales.

Mirror fans
Fans of Mirror member Anson Lo taking photo in front of a truck with their idol painted on it. File photo: Lea Mok/HKFP.

Chan was “happy to see that the operation of ticket sales is generally smooth and people are purchasing in an orderly manner,” and that he “expects the adoption of real-name registration can effectively curb scalping or buying through an intermediary at a high price,” according to the post.

However, the post was met with comments stating that people had waited for hours and were still unable access the ticket purchasing website. Some said the government was “living in a parallel universe.”

Online ticket scalping continues

Mirror tickets remained a hot commodity online, with HKFP spotting at least one tout selling a ticket for HK$10,000, which was apparently won through a lottery organised by Mirror’s official fan club and thus not subject to real-name registration.

HKFP asked the Home Affairs Bureau and the LCSD about the problems encountered by ticket buyers and the scalping of tickets obtained internally, which were outside the scope of the real-name registration requirements.

Mirror Scalpers
Mirror concert tickets were priced at HK$10,000 each in a second-hand offer. Photo: Screenshot, via Carousell.

The bureau said that it had no comments.

The LCSD said the online ticket selling system had been “operating normally” since the start of the public sale. However, it said “a large number of ticket buyers attempted to log into the system, therefore the website traffic has been very busy and some users might not be able to sign in at once.”

The department also said the real-name registration system required customers to read through a set of terms and conditions, as well as filling in their English full name, which “may cause the ticket purchase time to be longer than other performances.”

The LCSD added that it urged the public to purchase tickets via official channels to avoid fraud or losses.

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Peter Lee is a reporter for HKFP. He was previously a freelance journalist at Initium, covering political and court news. He holds a Global Communication bachelor degree from CUHK.