Video: Olympic Games Ticket Sales Hot Up (Updated)

Nickkita Lau reports in the Hong Kong-based Standard:

Scuffles broke out yesterday as thousands of people queued in sweltering heat for about 250,000 Olympic Games tickets on sale in Beijing.

The fights broke out in the afternoon after a number of queue-jumping incidents.

“It was fine and orderly the whole morning until 2pm when a bunch of people arrived,” a man in the queue said.

A reporter and cameraman from Now TV filming the incident were ordered by public security officers to stop and erase the recording. They refused and were detained in a police vehicle until a Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office representative arrived to mediate.

Now TV issued a statement accusing the authorities of interfering with press freedom. It said it was the second time in a week its reporters were obstructed.

Here is Xinhua’s report on this story: Long queues for last-chance Olympics tickets; HK reporter taken away.

More than 30,000 people lined up for their final chance at Olympic tickets overnight at a ticket agency near the Bird’s Nest here on Friday, forcing local police to take temporary measures to prevent chaos.

A Hong Kong reporter was taken away by police after breaking through barricades, authorities said.

UPDATED: AFP reports “Police struggle to control Beijing Olympic ticket chaos
“:

Police struggled on Friday to control surging crowds of more than 50,000 people desperate to grab the last Olympic tickets in Beijing, as a Hong Kong journalist trying to cover the chaos was detained.

Frustration boiled over as the fans — many of whom had been queueing for two days — jostled to maintain their spot in the long line as latecomers tried to force their way into prime positions.

At one point the surging crowd broke through a control barrier and lurched towards the ticket counters, sparking a sharp reaction from police.

In hot and dusty conditions, some groups in the crowd chanted insults at the officers, who were seen dragging people out of the line and kicking and punching them before leading them away.

Xinhua’s version is here:

HK reporter taken away after injuring officer in Olympics ticket scuffle

Xinhua Updated: 2008-07-25 20:25

A reporter from Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post newspaper was taken away on Friday by police in Beijing after breaking through a barricade set up to control a ticket-buying crowd and kicking a policeman in the groin, the local authorities said.

More than 30,000 people queued for their final chance to buy Olympic tickets near the National Stadium, aka the “Bird’s Nest,” at the time of the incident, a Beijing municipal government information office spokesman said.

The reporter, surnamed Wong, did not obey police orders and broke through a temporary barricade to take photos, the spokesman said.

“When police officers asked him to leave the temporary restricted zone, Wong didn’t listen. He kicked a police officer surnamed Zhang in the groin and injured him,” he said.

“Wong was then taken away by police for investigation, and the injured officer was sent to a nearby hospital.”