Ani-com ups the ante in battle with Hong Kong’s ticket touts as fans face rigorous checks for early bird tickets

ID cards, passports, and facial recognition technology all part of unprecedented move as organisers try to keep expo for real fans

PUBLISHED : Friday, 20 July, 2018, 9:01am
UPDATED : Monday, 06 August, 2018, 1:55pm

Ani-com returns to Hong Kong next week with its first e-sports carnival, and a new queuing system involving facial recognition technology organisers hope will put a dent in the activities of the city’s ticket touts.

Leung Chung-poon, the Animation, Comics, and Games Expo chief executive, said the unprecedented move was in response to queue jumping and the scalpers who had plagued the event in previous years.

This year, fans wanting to get their hands on the limited edition collectibles often up for grabs at the five-day cosplay, animation and video games extravaganza will have to register with their identity cards for the 500 early bird tickets on Monday morning at MacPherson Stadium.

“In the past, we’ve always encountered problems regarding lining up before the opening,” Leung said. “With certain products, there would be quite a lot of people who were not animation fans would line up overnight, like some scalpers and they jumped the queue and disrupted the order.”

Leung hopes things will be different this time.

Visitors who want to gain early entry on the first day of the fair next Friday at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wan Chai will need their ID card or passport, a phone number, and have agreed to the facial recognition process.

Once registered, fans will be able to enter the fair according to the order in which they registered, after confirming their personal details.

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Ahead of local popular concerts and events, scalpers have often been seen snapping up tickets to sell to fans at exorbitant prices.

Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor vowed earlier this year to eradicate the practice by making touting illegal at government-run venues.

Along with limited edition comics and figures, some exhibitors have also upgraded their offerings.

Sony Interactive Entertainment Hong Kong will give away gifts including a 4K-resolution high-definition television that is worth HK$7,490 for the first three customers who buy certain products.

The 20th edition of the annual Ani-com will put on a show of e-sports with top players from Hong Kong and other countries in the region.

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There will also be an e-sports competition called “eRacing Grand Prix Hong Kong” whose winner will have the opportunity to become a professional racer with Phoenix Racing Asia for a year.

“Around three to four million people in Hong Kong are playing e-sports and mobile games,” Leung said. “This is not a small number, we can see that it’s very popular in Hong Kong.”

Visitors can also keep an eye out for the annual cosplay competition, other exhibitions and performances and the showcase of the latest comic books and computer games.