Olympics-Organisers apologise for Beijing ticket fiasco

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BEIJING, Oct 31 (Reuters) Beijing organisers today admitted that they had underestimated the demand for the second batch of tickets for the 2008 Olympics after they were forced to suspend sales when the system crashed.

The allocation of the 1.85 million tickets ground to a halt after the Web site received 20 million hits in the first three hours of sale yesterday and the process was formally suspended in the early evening.

''The Beijing Olympic Ticketing Centre underestimated the peoples' enthusiasm for the Games. We sincerely apologise to the general public for the inconvenience,'' director of the centre Rong Jun told a news conference.

In addition to the millions of applicants swamping the Web site, the call centre received 3.8 million calls and lengthy queues formed at the 1,000 designated branches of the Bank of China, Rong said.

''All this exceeded the processing capacity of the system,'' he added. ''It was due to the database processing, not the bandwidth. We need to improve the database capacity.

''We are negotiating with the technical staff for a more comprehensive system.'' REUTERS HSB RK1920

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