Earlier online booking among new measures targeting sports center scalpers
Three new measures will be introduced to combat the scalping of public sports facilities, including earlier online bookings, and banning citizens from changing the person responsible for the activity on the approval letter.
The three new measures will take effect starting next Monday (May 16).
The first is that citizens using the internet booking service of Leisure Link will have priority in booking the facilities for the next seven days after logging into the system at 7am.
Meanwhile, the operating hours of the Leisure Link booking counters and self-service kiosks for advanced booking will be delayed to 7.15am, with the aim to combat “queuing gangs” who line up outside the counters overnight.
The second measure is allowing citizens to access the bookings in the Leisure Link e-services system via another government platform, “iAM Smart.”
Each citizen can only register one account with the “iAM Smart” platform using their own identity card numbers, and each account is bound to one smartphone only, meaning scalpers cannot make bookings using others’ identities.
After downloading and opening an account for “iAM Smart,” citizens who hold an account for the Leisure Link can then link the two accounts through the “iAM Smart” app and access the Leisure Lin e-services system with an authenticated identity.
The last measure is to reject all applications for change of responsible persons of the activity by organizations.
“Only the responsible person of the activity or the applicant of the organization listed on the approval letter can produce the original copy of his or her Hong Kong identity card at the booked session to take up the booking at the venue,” the statement read.
This comes right after the first set of anti-scalping measures kicked in on May 1, including the hirer must be subjected to random inspections during the booked session.
Football enthusiast Jason told The Standard that they were infuriated by the new rules, which were supposed to reduce the scalping of the booking quota for the city’s public sports facilities instead of annoying the genuine users of the facilities.
“We booked a football pitch in Kwun Tong for three hours, and every 20 to 30 minutes, LCSD staffers interrupted our match and asked the person who booked the pitch to confirm his presence.”
“What if our friend who booked the pitch for us was only there for the first two hours? Did authorities really think it through when formulating their policies? This is totally unacceptable!” he said.