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September 19, 2011

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Home » Metro » Entertainment and Culture

AKB48 tickets draw a chaotic crowd to mall

WITHOUT even being there, Japanese singing group AKB48 brought chaos to Super Brand Mall over the weekend as fans rushed to get tickets for their "hand-shaking convention," originally scheduled to be held this Friday.

Insiders said yesterday that the convention may be canceled because the organizers didn't get permission from cultural authorities.

Organizers said they "are negotiating" with the authorities and will announce results in two days.

According to the organizers, people were to get a free ticket if they purchased 980 yuan (US$153) worth of merchandise at the Mina store at the mall.

Before the ticket distribution started on Saturday, many devoted fans started to queue on Friday night.

Originally the organizers planned to issue 80 tickets a day, but most fans, unwilling to leave after that allotment had been distributed, gathered in the mall. Eventually the organizers issued 600 tickets on Saturday, but still many fans failed to get one.

The queue, in fact, only got longer and started to circle the mall, causing problems for other shoppers. Police were called to maintain order.

Organizers admitted they underestimated people's enthusiasm for the group, which is composed of 48 young women dressed like high school students or in traditional Japanese kimonos.

On Saturday afternoon, the group's official microblog in China issued a statement, calling on people not to go to the mall for tickets anymore.

"If the situation continues out of control, the convention may be canceled," said the statement.

Pudong police said under Chinese law, all cultural activities reaching a certain size require a certificate.

Yesterday the microblog issued another statement, saying that police intervened because the number of tickets issued was far more than expected.

It also said the booth set up in the mall was closed temporarily and reminded fans not to gather in the mall again.

The convention in Shanghai allows fans to have a handshake with the group members - if it is not canceled.

On Saturday, the group is scheduled to perform a concert at the Shanghai International Studies University, but it is open only for students at the university.


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