Legislators on Wednesday urged the Cabinet to approve increased penalties for ticket scalping, as public dissatisfaction toward ticket scarcity and inflated prices grows.
Popular Taiwanese music performers are returning to large venues after three years of COVID-19 pandemic restrictions kept them from entertaining audiences.
However, concertgoers are finding it difficult to purchase tickets, partly due to resellers offering tickets online for increasingly inflated prices.
Resale tickets to the South Korean girl group Blackpink’s Born Pink tour in Kaohsiung this weekend jumped from NT$45,000 to as high as NT$400,000, while tickets to a concert by Taiwanese pop icon Jolin Tsai (蔡依林) could also be found for up to NT$138,000.
Scalped tickets regularly sell for twice to four times their original price, accounting for 3 to 5 percent of overall concert sales volume, Ministry of Culture data showed.
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Lai Jui-lung (賴瑞隆) addressed the issue at a news conference along with the legislature’s Education and Culture Committee conveners: DPP Legislator Fan Yun (范雲) and Taiwan People’s Party Legislator Jang Chyi-lu (張其祿).
Scalping is regulated under the Social Order Maintenance Act (社會秩序維護法), which stipulates a fine of up to NT$18,000 for “buying transportation or entertainment tickets with no intention for use, and reselling them for profit,” although it does not include provisions for prevention, Lai said.
Investigations have shown that scalpers write online purchasing algorithms to buy vast quantities of tickets, which courts have ruled is not covered by the act, he said.
Prosecuting for other reasons such as forgery or fraud is also difficult due to technical barriers, he added.
Over the past five years, of the 36 cases that were referred for prosecution under the social order act, only 18 led to court-imposed penalties, Lai said.
Two were referred for “interfering with the computer of another person,” causing injury, but neither were tried, showing that current laws are unable to deter scalpers, he added.
The Development of the Cultural and Creative Industries Act (文化創意產業發展法), which governs concert ticket sales, should include punishments for scalping, he said.
Lai said he has proposed an amendment to the act, which would add fines and potential imprisonment for those who resell tickets for “improper profit” and purchase tickets through illegal means.
Japanese law includes possible imprisonment for up to one year or a fine of up to ￥1 million (US$7,528) for scalping, Jang said.
Japanese law has not only prevented scalping, but respects artists and concert organizers, Jang said, adding that he would promote the amendment for passage as soon as next month.
Requiring real-name registration for tickets is a way to stop scalping at the source, Fan said.
Japanese law requires people to pair their tickets with an ID for concerts and sports events, she said.
Although South Korea does not have a similar law, many organizers have implemented a real-name system for admission and have adopted creative ways to stop scalping, such as allowing people to purchase a scalped ticket directly from the organizers after reporting it, she added.
The culture ministry should work with police and online ticketing platforms to find and prosecute scalpers, DPP Legislator Rosalia Wu (吳思瑤) said.
The ministry should establish a ticket resale platform and create incentives for organizers to use real-name registration, Wu said.
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