Vendors sell out of new cards to hack into Cable TV's coverage of Euro 2004 Amid the growing hype of the Euro 2004 soccer championship, fans yesterday flocked to Hong Kong's black market to buy updated smart cards allowing them to watch the games on illegal satellite decoders. Thousands of viewers using unauthorised decoders were shut out of the opening action when Cable TV, local broadcaster of the much-anticipated event, switched its transmission code just before midnight on Saturday. After scenes of the opening ceremony suddenly turned blank on Saturday, the Apliu Street vendors who sell the decoders were not to be seen on Sunday. But dozens of disgruntled customers converged on Shamshuipo yesterday to pay $100 for an updated smart card - which hacks into the Cable TV transmission signal. Within minutes the illegal racketeers, despite the attention of roaming patrols, had sold out. One buyer in Apliu Street, who claimed to have bought the last card from one illegal stall, said he 'could not bear to miss any more games'. The South China Morning Post observed about 15 people queuing outside one satellite equipment store, which was closed, before three men arrived and distributed the updated cards. Another man told the Post he had bought an illegal decoder and smart card on Saturday - but yesterday decided to sign up for a legal account with Cable TV. 'It [the illegal device] does not work,' said the man, who asked not to be named. 'The code was always changing and I could not pick up a signal. 'I decided to apply for a legal account with Cable TV instead, because I do not want to miss any more soccer matches.' It is not illegal for private homes to install unauthorised decoders, priced between $885 and $1,200. But it is illegal to sell them. This comes as police and legalised soccer betting outlets run by the Jockey Club continued to warn against illegal gambling. Police have distributed fliers in bars and clubs warning punters of heavy fines and possible jail sentences if they are caught betting with underground bookies. Jockey Club chief executive Lawrence Wong Chi-kong said illegal bookies had 'an established business network and enjoy an edge with the provision of credit betting and paying no tax'.