Spare a thought for fans of Andy Lau Tak-wah, especially those who were unable to secure seats at his latest, sold out series of shows – and resorted to paying over the odds to Hong Kong’s notorious ticket scalpers.
Close to 90,000 fans of the canto-pop superstar were shocked to hear that their idol had decided to cancel the remaining seven nights of the “My love Andy Lau World Tour.”
The organizer of the show put up a Facebook announcement cancelling the remaining four shows after calling off the previous three because of a throat infection suffered by Lau.
“Mr Lau was diagnosed with influenza. The doctor has ordered Mr Lau to rest until he is fully recovered,” the statement read.
“We express our deepest apologies to all the supporters and fans of Mr Lau.”
Lau, who had not appeared in concert in Hong Kong for eight years, had to stop singing half-way through the fourth song of the 14th show of his 20-concert series.
In a tearful apology, Lau said, “The doctor said I shouldn’t sing any more, but I really can’t bear to let go.”
Certain fans holding tickets for cancelled shows might also be moved to tears, after paying scalpers up to HK$6,000 (US$766) for tickets with a face value of HK$980.
It is unclear how refunds will be given, but it is unlikely that the promoters will allow unused tickets to be valid for future concerts.
If that is the case, those fans who bought tickets from dealers will have to kiss goodbye to the HK$5,000 premium they paid.
Top concerts held in the 12,500-seat Hong Kong Coliseum often sell out almost as soon as they go on sale. This leads to many fans shelling out out crazy money to scalpers or to online resellers who got their tickets from organizers or sponsors.
In summer, stand-up comedian Dayo Wong said it was outrageous that his talk show tickets were available before his show began.
And in August, a 58-year-old man was stabbed by gang members after he refused to give up a prime place in the queue to buy Andy Lau concert tickets.
There has been talk of introducing a “real name registration” system for concert tickets, and Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor has pledged to make ticket scalping illegal at government-run venues.
Some commentators on the Web said Lau’s cancellations might be a good thing, as it clearly showed the risks to buyers of scalped tickets.