Hong Kong will step up a crackdown on touts from July after tickets for Canto-pop star Sammi Cheng Sau-man’s latest concert reportedly fetched up to HK$30,000 – 30 times their original price. At least 30 per cent of tickets will have to be made available to the public instead of corporate partners, up from the current 20 per cent. But industry representatives and a lawmaker said the change would be insignificant. The proposal is one of a number by the city’s Home Affairs Bureau to tackle scalping problems plaguing the showbiz industry. The Leisure and Cultural Services Department on Tuesday said the change would apply to tours with more than four shows at the Hong Kong Coliseum and Queen Elizabeth Stadium. “The government has to strike a balance between public demands and the views of the industry,” a statement read. Pop queen Cheng, 46, will be among the first performers hit by the new measures as she is staging 13 shows at the Coliseum between July 12 and 27. Tickets were priced at HK$980, HK$680 and HK$380, but all had sold out by Tuesday afternoon. Some were bought in pre-sales by holders of specific credit cards, before the rest went on sale on Tuesday. Owing to demand, Cheng has added two more performances on July 26 and 27. Anti-scalping measures could affect a third of ticket sales for some performers A HK$980 pre-sold ticket was reportedly sold for HK$30,000 on the internet last week. The singer’s team also rolled out changes to curb scalping, by selling tickets only via the internet, a mobile app and credit card telephone bookings. Fans will have to collect their tickets in person with their credit cards at Urbtix outlets and dispensing machines no earlier than 14 days before the performance. Nevertheless, when 70,000 tickets went on sale to the public online on Tuesday morning, they were sold out in just five hours. The Urbtix website crashed under the weight of demand. Lawmaker Edward Lau Kwok-fan, of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, said the new arrangement was a “small step in the right direction” but did not go far enough. HK$40,000 bill for a HK$1,000 Andy Lau ticket fuels consumer watchdog’s call for scalping to be illegal “Requiring some 30 per cent of tickets to be put on public sale is not enough. There are still far too many tickets sold internally. I appreciate the performing industry’s concerns and agree that we should also increase penalties. But in the meantime, the easiest way to curb ticket scalping is to allow more tickets to be offered for public sale,” Lau added. The Performing Industry Association said it was disappointed by the changes as they would place an unfair burden on the sector. “Such a proposal has no deterrent effect since it lacks legal backing, and any changes on ticketing arrangements alone will only pour gasoline on the fire, failing to resolve the problem at its root,” a statement by the association read. The organisation urged the government to amend the law to regulate the Coliseum and Queen Elizabeth Stadium, as well as increasing penalties and enacting legislation to regulate ticket resale platforms. It also demanded a legislative timetable and improvements to ticketing systems to combat the use of automatic purchasing software used online.