What was supposed to be an enjoyable day out karting in Macau turned into disaster for a Hong Kong family when a mix-up over prices escalated into an ugly confrontation with management and staff. Last weekend Nigel Merritt went with his sons Louis, 16, and Joshua, 22, and their friends to Macao Motorsports Club (MMC) on Coloane island. Joshua had phoned the track earlier in the week and was told that they could get a special deal of 10 karts for HK$2,800 for one hour. They took the offer and organised a group of 10 people to take part. However, on their arrival they were told that the offer was not for HK$2,800 for one hour, but that it was actually HK$3,600. None of this mattered anyway as the karting company said they didn't do any 'special deals' over Lunar New Year. The best offer they could give the group was a price of HK$280 for 15 minutes each. 'This was not what my son had been told on the phone. If we'd have known this we'd never have come. When we tried to explain this to staff they started to get extremely abusive and asked us to leave,' Merritt said. Things went from bad to worse after the track manager was told that he'd be reported to the Macau Tourist Board, which prompted the manager to call the police. What followed were farcical scenes. 'First they wanted us to leave, but now they suddenly wanted us to stay and not leave the premises,' Merritt said. 'I was only too happy to stay and talk to the police after the way we had been treated. 'But there was no need for us all to be there so some of the others tried to leave. However the manager and two or three of his sidekicks refused to allow them to. We were suddenly being held hostage.' Taxi drivers were intimidated from letting anyone into their cabs and some of the group were forced out of the taxis that they had entered. Two Merritt family friends from Macau who had driven to the track were not allowed to leave the car park. Track staff stood in front of their vehicles and even laid on the bonnet of one car to prevent the vehicle being driven away. Eventually most of the group were able to leave the track by either car or taxi, but not without abuse being hurled at them and drivers having to dodge staff members who were trying to prevent them from leaving. The police arrived and, after almost an hour of discussion, they asked Merritt if he wanted to take criminal action against the manager and the track, which was ironic as it was the track manager who had called the police. Merritt declined to make any charges. The incident lasted three hours. 'A simple apology for misinformation would have sufficed and valuable police time would not have been wasted,' he said. Tina Fong, the newly appointed executive committee member of the MMC, expressed her concern at what happened, and on behalf of the company apologised for any trouble or inconvenience caused. 'I strongly believe Mr Merritt was misled by our staff who was on phone duty and the 'misunderstanding' was caused by a language barrier. We will further evaluate how we can prevent this problem from occurring again in the future,' she said. 'As far as I know the police was involved but fortunately both parties were being very co-operative and calm.' Fong said the company aims to 'consistently deliver a professional service to our customers', but that on this occasion 'the level of service Mr Merritt received was unacceptable'.