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Letters to Editors

2012.10.07   Measures to improve booking and allocation systems of sports facilities

South China Morning Post
The Editor

Dear Editor,

In response to the letter by Mr David Lai (“Why wait till 2014 to curb the touts”, September 26), I would like to explain more about the various measures we have already implemented to improve our booking and allocation systems of the sports facilities managed by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD).

First of all, I would like to emphasise that the LCSD has attached great importance to improving the booking system and taken early action to tackle possible abuse and the “touting” problems. Over the past year, we have already tightened up the check-in procedures at all our venues and facilities so as to guard against abuse or unauthorised transfer of users’ permits. We have also implemented a series of measures to improve the booking system and to plug possible loopholes.

These include enhancing the on-line booking capacity of the Leisure Link System, requiring telephone reservations to be made at least three days in advance with payment made at least one day before the date of using the facilities; and ceasing to accept identity documents other than the Hong Kong identity card for online registration as Leisure Link Patrons.

Besides, we have fully cooperated with the Ombudsman in carrying out the investigation into the booking and allocation systems and examining ways to improve the systems. Based on the recommendations made by the Ombudsman, we have come up with a wide range of proposed measures to tackle the problems identified and to reduce the room for abuse. These include shortening the advance booking period for individuals from the current 30 days to 10 days, tightening the quota of fee charging facilities that can be booked by individuals during peak hours, cancellation of “stand-by” arrangement for soccer pitches, imposing penalties on individuals who breach or fail to observe booking regulations and further upgrading the Leisure Link System.

While the above proposed measures, if implemented, could help to reduce the chances of touting and other abuses, the measures would also unavoidably affect different users and stakeholders. Therefore, we will need to consult the 18 District Councils on the proposed measures in coming months and to collect views from the sports organisations, users as well as members of the general public so that we could find the best possible ways to implement the proposed measures.

As can be seen above, we have already taken early action to implement various measures to enhance our booking system and we will soon embark on our consultation exercise with a view to rolling out further measures in the coming year. We have wasted no time in enforcing improvement measures and would continue to endeavor to implement further measures as early as possible.

Yours faithfully,

Ms Alice Heung Ching-yee
Chief Leisure Manager (Land-based Venues)
Leisure and Cultural Services Department

Quality Services for Quality Life