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Tuesday, Jul 16, 2024

Sports facility booking agreement to become legally binding in effort to squeeze out scalpers: Govt

Sports facility booking agreement to become legally binding in effort to squeeze out scalpers: Govt

The Leisure and Cultural Services Department is seeking legal advice on requiring the hirers of sports and recreation venues to declare and undertake that they will not transfer the booked facilities by any means, according to Hong Kong’s sports chief.
In a written response to lawmakers’ inquiries on Wednesday, Sports secretary Kevin Yeung Yun-hung said the LCSD received around 270 complaints about touting activities from January 2022 to February 2023.

During the said period, there was an average of around 400 cases per month where hirers had their booking right for LCSD's fee-charging sports and recreation facilities suspended for 90 days, after having accumulated the breaches of "not taking up the booked sessions" or "not being present during the use of the booked sessions" on two occasions.

He noted that in addition to combating touting activities through administrative measures, the LCSD has been exploring the possibility of imposing criminal liabilities or fines on persons engaging in the unauthorized transfer of such venues under the current legislation.

“The LCSD is seeking legal advice on requiring the hirers and the hiring organizations to declare and undertake that they will not transfer the booked facilities by any means at the time of their booking or registering to use the facilities. Appropriate follow-up action would be taken against those suspected of engaging in the unauthorized transfer of booked facilities.

“The LCSD will actively explore the feasibility of requiring hirers and the hiring organizations to make relevant declarations at the launch of the new intelligent sports and recreation services booking and information system,” Yeung added.

Meanwhile, the sports chief said LCSD’s venue staff have increased random inspections during the booked sessions since the launch of multiple new measures on May 1, 2022, to combat touting activities.

“As of February 2023, a total of over 770,000 inspections were conducted by staff of LCSD venues during the booked sessions. Around 1,380 hirers were found not being present during the use of the booked sessions, involving various fee-charging sports and recreation facilities such as arenas of sports centers, tennis courts, and turf soccer pitches,” he said.
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