Ticketing firm Urbtix crashed this morning (Tuesday), along with its phone systems, as sales opened up for Hong Kong acting star and popular singer Andy Lau’s concerts.

Fans were left outraged after they were locked out of all of the sales points after Urbtix failed to successfully handle the high demand of people battling for a ticket to see the star.

Twenty concerts with about 60,000 tickets are to be made available to the public, with prices ranging from HK$380 (US$48) to HK$980. Some tickets were sold through priority booking for credit card users on August 15.

Andy Lau has been one of Hong Kong’s most commercially successful film actors since the mid-1980s, performing in more than 160 films while maintaining a successful singing career at the same time.

The South China Morning Post discovered that the Urbtix website, as well as its mobile phone app and phone hotline, could still not be accessed as of 4pm after tickets were supposed to be available from 10am.

The website stated that it was because the system was processing “a large number of customers,” with all “internet ticket slots” being taken up.

However, a spokesman for the Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD), which operates Urbtix, responded: “After the opening and closing of the Andy Lau concert tickets, the city ticketing network system has been functioning normally and the concert tickets have been sold without interruption.

“The number of tickets for the public sale was about 60,000. In the first hour of the sale (10 to 11 am), it has sold nearly 60%. Before noon, it has sold more than 90%. At three o’clock, it is close to being sold out.”

Organisers of the performances, to be held between December 15 and January 3 at the Hong Kong Coliseum, are not offering fans the option to buy tickets over the counter at the box office for the first time in a decade.

The counters were shut down after a man in the queue was attacked with a knife on August 26.

Image: Pete Yeung