Fans hit by forged Sevens tickets
Scores of rugby Sevens fans missed the biggest party of the year yesterday after police and government authorities uncovered a large number of 'very well made'', locally-produced counterfeit tickets.
Police were on the lookout for fake tickets after the Leisure and Cultural Services Department took a sample of 1,000 tickets sold on Friday and found that at least 50 were high-quality forgeries. By last night 340 fake tickets had been seized at the turnstiles of Hong Kong Stadium. Still more could turn up today, a security source revealed.
'An instruction has been sent out to staff working at the gate to be vigilant and aware of these ticket forgeries,' the source said. 'They have been briefed on what exactly to look for when it comes to spotting these forgeries and anyone with fake tickets will be refused entry. The fakes are of a much higher quality than in previous years.'
The forged tickets were bought by fans off overseas websites. One Irishman told the Sunday Morning Post that he had paid HK$1,500 for a ticket just for today's action on eBay, but it proved to be a fake.
Adrian O'Doherty and his brother Justin both paid HK$3,000 apiece for Hong Kong Sevens tickets for the weekend on eBay only to be turned away at the entrance when they got to the stadium as the tickets were fake.
'I was gutted,' Adrian O'Doherty said. 'We'd been looking forward to this for months but it ended in disaster.' The two brothers paid a tout HK$1,700 and HK$1,500 just to get in to see yesterday's action. They will now be forking out more cash to get in today. O'Doherty said that organisers were aware of the scam and had set up a booth to deal solely with the problem.
'We were told that any ticket with the letters 'pm' at the start of the bar code were fakes,' O'Doherty said. 'It's disappointing but we'll still make the best of it.'
Police arrested three men aged 15 to 35 on Caroline Hill Road in Happy Valley yesterday after three suspected forged tickets were seized from one of them.