Action has already begun to curb sports facility booking touts

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 07 October, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 07 October, 2012, 2:09am


In response to the letter by Mr David Lai ("Why wait till 2014 to curb the touts?", September 26), I would like to explain more about the various measures we have already implemented to improve our booking and allocation systems of the sports facilities managed by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department.

First of all, I would like to emphasise that the department regards improving the booking system as important and has taken early action to tackle possible abuse and the "touting" problems. Over the past year, we have already tightened up the check-in procedures at all our venues and facilities to guard against abuse or unauthorised transfer of users' permits. We have also implemented measures to improve the booking system and to plug possible loopholes.

These include enhancing the online booking capacity of the Leisure Link System; requiring telephone reservations at least three days in advance with payment at least one day before the facilities are used; and required only the Hong Kong identity card for online registration as Leisure Link Patrons.

We have fully co-operated with the Ombudsman in the investigation into the booking and allocation systems and examining ways to improve the systems. Based on the Ombudsman's recommendations, we have come up with proposed measures to tackle the problems identified and to reduce abuse. These include shortening the advance booking period for individuals from the current 30 days to 10 days, tightening the quota of fee-charging facilities that may be booked by individuals during peak hours, cancellation of "stand-by" arrangement for soccer pitches, imposing penalties on individuals who breach or fail to observe booking regulations, and further upgrading the Leisure Link System.

While the above proposed measures, if implemented, could help to reduce the chances of touting and other abuses, the measures would also unavoidably affect different users and stakeholders. So, we will consult with the 18 District Councils on the proposals in coming months, and we will collect views from the sports organisations, users and the general public to find the best ways to implement the proposed measures.

The implementation of various measures to enhance our booking system has been done, and we will soon embark on our consultation exercise with a view to rolling out further measures in the coming year. We have wasted no time in enforcing improvement measures and will continue to implement further measures as early as possible.

Alice Heung Ching-yee, chief leisure manager (land-based), Leisure and Cultural Services Department