(ATR) Ticket scalping is alive and well at the south gate of Gangneung’s coastal cluster of venues.
As spectators file off shuttle buses, at least a dozen ticket scalpers wait for their prey. Holding signs asking if anyone has a spare ticket, they are easy to spot. They shout in primarily British accents, "Anyone got a spare ticket?" to the oncoming crowds. They can also be seen holding a few tickets in their hands.
Once approached, they ask what events you are looking for and refer you to someone within their group who has that ticket. For Tuesday’s sold-out short track speed skating session, the starting price was the Korean equivalent of about $279 for a ticket that has a face value of half that.
Open to negotiation, they are selling some low demand tickets for less than face value. For high demand events they hold out for their price. This is a highly organized team of international ticket scalpers catering to mostly English-speaking customers.
All of this activity is taking place with lots of uniformed police nearby. But they are mostly directing traffic or working on crowd control and not paying any attention to the scalpers.
Morning hours are abuzz with ticket scalping activity, as figure skating sessions begin at 10am. The ticket touts are quite aggressive and finalize deals off to the side of the crowd, hoping not to get caught.
According to reports in The Korea Times, PyeongChang 2018 organizing committee officials have said that dozens of plainclothes agents patrol around venues to prevent ticket scalping "but a perfect crackdown is all but impossible".
Sounds like local authorities have given up already, as this scene continues to flourish at the south gate of the Olympic Park.
Written by Olympic SuperFan Everen T. Brown
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