Amid fury over ticket scalping, organizers of Japanese composer Joe Hisaishi’s sold-out tour of Hong Kong have announced an additional performance, with tickets to be sold via a lottery.
The move follows outrage over large amounts of tickets being quickly bought up and resold on second-party websites at massively inflated prices.
The illegal practice saw tickets for Hisaishi’s show sell out within minutes of being made available in February, leaving fans bitterly disappointed.
According to the Hong Kong Philharmonic’s website, Hisaishi, known for penning tunes to many Hayao Miyazaki films like Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle, and Princess Mononoke, will now play an additional show on May 5.
Fans of the composer have until April 2 to register online for the ballot for the chance to buy tickets.
Those who are successful, must present a photo ID in order to complete the purchase.
The requirement is designed to safeguard against a repeat of the situation in February where tickets — priced officially between HK$480 to HK$1,080 (US$61 to US$138) — re-appeared on second-party websites like Viagogo for more than HK$12,000 (US$1,529) literally minutes after selling out.
A similar pattern also occurred for an upcoming “farewell tour” by local comedian Dayo Wong, who you may have seen on billboards dressed his James Bond parody character “Agent Mr Chan.”
Tickets for that show, at the government-run Hong Kong Coliseum in July, were sold officially for between HK$280 to HK$880 (US$36 to US$112) but appeared online for several times the price.
Among disgruntled fans was Civic Party lawmaker Alan Leong, who took to Facebook to slam scalpers.
“Online sales were meant to open at 9am. Not only could I not get online at 8:45am, I could find websites reselling tickets for HK$1,348! What is going on?”
黃子華棟篤笑門票，今早話9點在網上給DBS Eminent Card 持有人優先訂購。8:45已經上唔到唔在講，9:10 我在「黃牛網站」就見到$880飛炒到$1348兜售！咁即係點玩法？ ！
In a video response on Facebook, Wong said there were no more tickets, despite claims by some websites that they had an “internal channel” to secure more passes.
Urging his fans not to be conned by scalpers, he called on the government to tackle the problem.
“Everyone has been working hard to prepare for the show. But there are people who are selling tickets at several times the original price, and who contributed nothing, and my long-term supporters are suffering from this,” he wrote. “I know the world has always been imperfect, but this kind of imperfection is outrageous.”
According to the Places of Public Entertainment Ordinance, reselling tickets without consent is illegal, and offenders can be fined up to HK$2,000 (US$255).
Lawmaker Ma Fung-kwok, who represents the performing arts sector, said the government should increase this fine, and tighten laws on scalping as, currently, they only covers private venues that hold entertainment licenses and not government facilities, RTHK reported.