Beijing returns to ticket lottery after system crash

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Beijing, Nov 5: Beijing organisers will revert to a lottery system to allocate the second tranche of tickets for next year's Olympics after huge demand forced the suspension of sales on a first come, first-served basis last week.

Residents of mainland China will be able to register to buy the 1.8 million tickets between December 10 and December 30, according to a statement posted today on the Games' Web site (www.beijing2008.cn).

''The ticketing policy modifications aim to reflect a people-oriented policy and to adhere to principles of fairness, impartiality, and convenience to the public,'' read the statement.

Only 43,000 tickets were allocated last week. The first batch of 1.6 million tickets were allocated by lottery earlier this year.

Organisers admitted they underestimated the demand for the second batch of tickets and were forced to suspend sales last Tuesday when the system crashed.

The Web site received 20 million hits in the first three hours of sale, the call centre received 3.8 million calls and lengthy queues formed at the 1,000 designated branches of the Bank of China.

''(We have) taken into consideration technical verification and research by specialists as well as comments and suggestions from various parties in making the policy adjustments,'' today's statement continued.

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.

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