Rugby fans in despair as tickets prove to be fakes

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 26 March, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 26 March, 2011, 12:00am

At least 50 rugby fans were refused entry to the Hong Kong Sevens last night after the tickets they bought over the internet proved to be fake.

The discovery sparked fears that many more counterfeit tickets could turn up, as Friday night at the Sevens is always the quietest, while the 40,000-seater stadium is expected to be full today and tomorrow.

Last night, unfortunate fans who flew in from Sydney, Dubai and Singapore were all turned away when stadium staff found that their tickets were not valid.

The fake tickets are of a lighter colour than the genuine ones, have no HK$ sign on them, are of a slightly different texture and have a different barcode.

Some of the fans were angry; others were in despair having travelled thousands of kilometres for the event.

They bought their tickets through two websites;, which is based in Sydney, and, based in the UK and Dubai. Including air fares and hotels, the unlucky rugby supporters spent between A$5,0000 and A$6,000 (HK$39,600 and HK$47,500) to see the Sevens.

Englishman Chris Sweeting flew from Singapore after buying tickets through

'I went online and bought these tickets three months ago ... only to be told today that they are fake. It really is devastating,' Sweeting said.

'Meanwhile we're being badgered by touts to buy tickets from them and they're asking crazy prices. It's ludicrous and this is supposed to be a prestige event.'

Claudio Paunescu, who flew in from Sydney with his two sons Chris and Alex, was another hugely disappointed rugby supporter.

'We've come all the way to be told outside the stadium that our tickets are fake. None of us can believe this is happening,' Paunescu said.

The Hong Kong Rugby Football Union said there was nothing it could do for the fans.

'If you purchase tickets through channels that are not official channels of the HKRFU or our official sponsor Cathay Pacific, then the union cannot guarantee that the tickets are valid or are actually available,' the union's head of commercial, communication and events, Warrick Dent, said.

Police said the people who were swindled out of their money could file a report but that there was nothing else they could do.