HKRFU ballot fails to stop touts getting Sevens tickets
The problem of Hong Kong Sevens tickets being sold on unofficial websites and falling into the hands of touts is still dogging the event as this year's tournament kicks off today.
The Hong Kong Rugby Football Union made 4,000 tickets available for sale via a public ballot this year. The union believed this method was the fairest way to distribute the tickets. Applicants had to verify their local residency with Hong Kong ID card details and postal address for registered mail or courier services.
But this hasn't stopped unofficial websites and touts from getting their hands on tickets - and not just those sold in the public ballot. Tickets sold to rugby club members and the corporate sector also fell into their grasp.
Official ticket prices are the same as last year with an adult, three-day ticket at HK$1,500.
But Mancunian Tickets Limited in the UK, which is not affiliated with the union or any of the event's official retailers, is advertising its own ticket price range. A ticket for today's action is £60 (HK$704). A ticket for tomorrow - usually the most popular day - will cost £200, and it's £160 for Sunday. A ticket for all three days is £400, while one for Saturday and Sunday is £340.
Touts trawling bars in Wan Chai yesterday were offering tickets for one day's play for between HK$1,200 and HK$1,800.
Union chairman Trevor Gregory admitted there was no way to stop unofficial websites or touts.
He said that if people bought tickets legitimately and wanted to sell them for a little extra there was nothing the union could do. But he said the union was trying to keep an eye on unofficial websites selling tickets en masse.
"We know where all the tickets go now. We can trace every one back to the original buyer," Gregory said. "We can then go back privately and penalise people or groups at future events."
Today: cloudy with one or two light rain patches at first; sunny intervals later. Temperature: 19-24C
Tomorrow: sunny periods; 21-26C
Sunday: cloudy with showers later; 21-25C