Beijing tickets sales suspended

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Beijing, Oct 31: Beijing organisers have suspended the sale of the second batch of tickets for the 2008 Olympics after huge demand overwhelmed the system, according to the official Games Web site.

''BOCOG has decided to temporarily halt the domestic ticket sales in the second phase to improve the technical plan and will announce new ticketing information on November 5,'' said a statement on www.beijing2008.cn.

The ticketing Web site received more than eight million hits in the first hour of the opening day of sales on Tuesday as Chinese tried to get their hands on the 1.85 million tickets.

Some 3.8 million telephone calls were registered at the call centre in that first hour, organisers said, and lengthy queues formed at the 1,000 branches of the Bank of China.

''The technical system was unable to perform the tasks well enough, and many applicants were unable to successfully submit their applications,'' the statement continued.

The first batch of 1.6 million tickets were allocated by lottery earlier this year so this was the first chance for China's 1.3 billion people to buy tickets on a first come, first served basis.

''We sincerely apologize to the general public,'' the statement quoted an official as saying.

Seven million tickets for the August 8-24 Games will be made available to the general public with nearly three quarters reserved for mainland China residents.

UNI

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