Police Draw Up 'Hitlist' To Target Alleged Black Market Ticket Touts
A "hitlist" of 30 int'l websites and 970 individuals "are being targeted by police" investigating the multimillion-pound black market of Olympic Games tickets, according to Sandra Laville of the London GUARDIAN. The list includes individuals "linked to serious organised crime." One man is being targeted in Belgium "for attempting to sell large quantities" of Olympic tickets. The Metropolitan police are "liaising with the U.S. Olympic Committee over several unauthorized sites "attempting to sell seats illegally." In the U.K., known ticket re-sellers "have tried to breach the official website selling Olympic tickets." About 100 attempted to buy seats in order to resell them illegally, but "were identified and failed to do so" (GUARDIAN, 6/19).
GLOBAL RESPONSE: Meanwhile, the XINHUA NEWS AGENCY reported that Chinese Olympic Committee Secretary General Song Luzeng said that an investigation into the alleged illegal sale had started. Song said, "We demanded a thorough and sincere internal probe to be conducted by the authorized dealers for China." China's only authorized London Games ticket agent, Caissa Touristic, "denied on Monday they were involved in selling London Games tickets on the black market." Caissa VP Zhang Rui said, "We have carried out every operation following the rules. The story published by the Sunday Times is untrue, at least the part about us" (XINHUA, 6/20). In Australia, Nicole Jeffery reported that IOC Exec Board member and Australian Olympic Committee President John Coates revealed "he knew that shady ticket agents had attempted to circumvent the AOC to sell tickets in the Australian market for past Games." Coates said, "We've certainly been aware over the years, not this Olympiad, of other agents selling tickets in our market place and selling tickets to competitors of our sponsors." Ticket demand for the Olympics "has been growing steadily" over the past 20 years, which has "created the perfect conditions for a lucrative black market to develop." In the wake of the ticket scandal allegations, the IOC "vowed to impose the strongest sanctions” against any offenders. Regardless of the outcome of its investigation, the IOC "needs to act now to restore confidence in the ticket-selling process" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 6/19).