Sevens ticket accused didn't act alone

PUBLISHED : Friday, 11 May, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 11 May, 2012, 12:00am

Only one of five men involved a scam selling fake Rugby Sevens tickets in March was arrested, it emerged in court yesterday.

Alexander de Sola Torgersen, an agent for sports ticket agency Euroteam, told Eastern Court he met a group of five men when he bought tickets for the tournament on March 22, a day before the annual event kicked off.

The sole prosecution witness recalled recognising defendant Christopher Duncan McConville, a 24-year-old Briton, as well as another man known as 'John' among the group, as he had met the pair on other occasions, including in Rome.

'I approached them [after getting out of a taxi]; as we had some friendly relations before, we had a short talk,' de Sola told the court, referring to his meeting with them at Hong Kong Stadium. 'I asked about the availability and prices of the tickets - these are the essential questions.'

As soon as de Sola found out that the 76 tickets he bought from McConville at a cost of Euro10,000 (HK$100,000) were forged, 'I was instructed [by Euroteam] to get the money back.'

He contacted the police, but also maintained communication with the accused via text messages.

Prosecution documents submitted to the court showed the defendant texted de Sola, saying: '... if any problem I will have to pay all money on my own.'

De Sola responded within minutes: '15 mins to get it.' But McConville refused.

A Government Laboratory report found several discrepancies between the genuine and fake tickets, including colour differences, the lack of micro-print on the bogus ones, as well as the use of laser printing rather than offset printing.

A lawyer for McConville said the defendant was a sports ticket dealer.

He is charged with obtaining property by deception and breach of condition of stay by establishing or joining in a business.

Magistrate Li Kwok-wai adjourned the hearing yesterday when McConville, who was seated with his lawyer, abruptly walked out of the court. McConville, who urgently had to use the toilet and failed to inform the magistrate before he left, was released on bail.

The trial continues today.


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