SINGAPORE - The Singapore SEA Games Organising Committee (Singsoc) is investigating a shopowner who has been accused of netting a profit by reselling tickets to the June 15 SEA Games football final.
Mr Ye Win Paing, who owns grocery store Doe Myanmar on the fourth floor of Peninsula Plaza, had bought 2,050 tickets to the Thailand v Myanmar game at a discounted price of $13 each - instead of the usual $20 (not inclusive of a $1 booking fee) - as part of a group purchase.
His initial purchase was made under the name "Golden Myanmar Group". This discount was offered to those who bought more than 100 tickets.
Singsoc later found out that he intended to charge his customers the full ticket price. The discount was withdrawn and the tickets were sold to him at $20 each.
"We now understand that tickets were sold at $25 with the difference allegedly donated to a charitable cause," said Mr Toh Boon Yi, Singsoc's chief of corporate and community outreach.
"We are reviewing the matter with the relevant authorities."
According to Chinese daily Lianhe Zaobao, Mr Ye came to Singapore 10 years ago and has since become a citizen. He admitted that he earned a $4 profit from each ticket sold.
But he insisted that he donated the $8,500 he earned - of which $300 came from his own pocket - to Myanmar's football team. He claimed he made that known to all his customers.
Mr Lynn Htat Aung, who surfaced the issue on social media, said many of his friends were eager to secure seats at the 55,000-capacity National Stadium and resorted to buying the over-priced tickets from Doe Myanmar.
"Such actions give the Myanmarese community a bad name, and I felt I had to highlight it to the public and the authorities," said the 31-year-old engineer, a Singapore permanent resident.
"I heard that he (Mr Ye) was planning to sell the tickets to the final at an even higher price. And he did not mention that he was donating the profits until some of his customers started protesting."
He claimed that the shop also used the same tactic for Myanmar's semi-final against Vietnam on June 13.
This was confirmed by technician Min Htaw Paing, 39, who bought five semi-final tickets at $25 each from Doe Myanmar.
He said: "I was told the additional $5 he (Mr Ye) was charging would be donated, but I also noticed that they cost only $14, as it was stated on the ticket. Where did the rest of the money go?"
The Straits Times understands that only proceeds from the resale of the tickets to the final were donated. It is not known if Mr Ye did the same for the semi-finals.
The fine print on each ticket clearly states that the resale of tickets at the same or higher value of its initial price is prohibited.