Olympic ticket-scalping trade booms in China
One ticket for the opening ceremony of next month’s Olympic Games in Beijing changed hands for up $30 000, a local newspaper reported on Tuesday.
A Bank of China employee in Beijing’s Xicheng district told the Beijing Times the bank had transferred a ticket with the face value of 5 000 yuan ($730) to someone who paid 210 000 yuan ($30 657) to the original purchaser.
Even though rules prohibit the resale of tickets at more than cost price, bank staff were forced to transfer tickets if the applicants gave all the required information, the newspaper quoted the employee as saying.
The Beijing Olympic organisers (Bocog) allowed only one ticket per applicant for the opening ceremony.
The organisers required all purchasers to provide full details of their identity, including a digital photograph to be recorded in the ticket’s security chip.
The deadline for transferring tickets for the Olympic opening was Monday. Similar security-protected tickets for the closing ceremony can still be transferred until July 30.
The newspaper quoted an unidentified source “familiar with the ticket-selling business” as saying that many tickets for the opening ceremony were controlled by organised gangs of ticket scalpers.
Some of the touts had bought identity card numbers to use in online bookings, while others organised large groups of people to apply for tickets, it added.
Once Bocog issued its policy for ticket transfers, many online advertisements, offered tickets for the opening ceremony at more than 100 000 yuan.
One elderly Beijing resident told the newspaper he had sold his ticket for the opening ceremony for 60 000 yuan.
Tickets for popular Olympic sports competitions are reportedly also changing hands for several times their face value.
About seven million tickets were sold for the August 8 to 24 games, about 40% of them in China, with an expected revenue of $140-million.
About two million more tickets were designated for the International Olympic Committee, sponsors, dignitaries and broadcasters.
Ticket prices for the events in 28 sports categories range from 30 yuan to 1 000 yuan. To make the tickets affordable for ordinary Chinese citizens, the price for 58% of the seats was set at 100 yuan or lower.
Fourteen percent of the tickets were reserved for students at a price of 10 yuan or less. - Sapa-DPA