$2,500 fees introduced to avoid chaos at Stanley regatta, but questions are raised over funds For the first time this year, spectator boats will have to pay $2,500 for a parking spot at the Stanley Dragon Boat Regatta, but there are concerns about where these funds and the rest of the money raised from the event are being spent. Stanley Residents Association chairman Alson Wong Kam-chuen said the boat-parking fee was introduced in response to growing chaos from hordes of freelance shuttle boats that descend on the harbour hoping to make a profit ferrying competitors and spectators. Funds raised would cover the provision of shuttle boats and crews taking people to and from the shore after complaints from the Marine Department that the melee of previous years was becoming too dangerous. There are 185 teams scheduled to compete in Wednesday's regatta, with each team paying $9,000 to enter. The Stanley Residents Association, a non-profit company that organises the event through its subsidiary, the Stanley Dragon Boat Association, claims almost all the funds are used for preparation work and cleaning up after the event. But some in the dragon boating community are sceptical. 'They are accepting way too many boats, so it will be chaos again. And we're paying through the nose and getting nothing for it,' said one competitor who preferred not to be identified. 'Nobody knows where any of the money goes because almost everything on race day is paid for by sponsors.' The Southern District Council has contributed $147,000 this year to assist in setting up the stands, while the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club provides safety and starter boats, and some auxiliary vessels to help with race management. With $1.66 million in entry fees, and several hundred thousand more expected from the boat parking fee, merchandise sales and training fees, this year's event is expected to generate more than $2 million for the association. But Mr Wong said because the event was growing so fast - 166 teams competed last year, up from 153 in 2004 - it was putting increasing demands on resources. 'These days we are having to spend a lot of money,' Mr Wong said. 'We need to build the stands, the platforms for the marshals and set up the warm-up area.' He said the association, whose principal business was listed in its annual report as promoting friendship between residents of the area and organising dragon boat races, had this year already ploughed $150,000 into construction of a new boat rack capable of holding up to 30 dragon boats. In addition, it had to cover maintenance of the boats and help provide training for contestants. 'We don't exactly make a big profit,' he said. 'Everything goes back into the dragon boating.' Audited accounts for the financial year to March 31, 2005, reveal the association made an $80,244 loss. Included in the total income of $2,080,552, entry fees accounted for $1,155,950, donations $480,820, and training fees for dragon boaters $315,440. Salaries for its one full-time employee and various short-term staff amounted to $535,025. The next-biggest item of expenditure - $510,600 - is reported as being for 'race course related expenses'. Mr Wong was unable to provide a definitive list of items for exactly what constituted that category, but pointed out that the association's accounts were audited at the end of every year. An additional $248,195 was spent on 'stand and creation', while $292,195 went towards 'refreshments and activities'.