Singapore jails Chinese national 3 months, for selling fake Taylor Swift tickets, helping trio gatecrash concert

Yang took part in a scheme to help three people tailgate a concertgoer into the venue with accomplice Li Xiaowei, who was sentenced to six weeks’ jail last week over the same incident.

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On March 1, three travellers, Shangguan Linmo, Hu Zhijun and Yang Junhao departed from Wuhan, China to Penang, Malaysia for a holiday.

On a connecting flight, Shangguan was approached by an unknown person who asked if she would be interested in buying Singapore Eras Tours VIP tickets at 4,000 yuan each (about US$550) each.

The unknown person shared his WeChat contact and that of Yang to Shangguan once she said she was interested.

He said that he knew a contact in Singapore who would help her procure three free-seating VIP tickets, and that this person would provide the group with spare tickets if they could not enter with the tickets he sold her.

Two days later, Yang was contacted by an unknown person known as “Boss”, who provided him with Shangguan’s WeChat contact and said that she would contact him.

On March 4, the trio boarded a flight from Penang to Singapore, planning to attend the Eras Tour concert that evening, which was the third night of the American singer-songwriter’s sold-out concerts here.

At about 4:54pm, Shangguan contacted Yang to say she was reaching the venue. He sent her a screenshot of the supposed “VIP 1” category ticket that said it was valid for “Sat 4 Mar 2024, 6:00pm”.

He instructed her to use the “ticket” to enter the security area where the personal belongings of concertgoers were checked, before concertgoers scanned valid tickets at a turnstile gate leading into the National Stadium.

Yang also instructed Shangguan to send the ticket to Hu and Junhao, and to call him once the group entered the personal check security area.

Upon arriving, the trio went to Gate 15, which comprised a row of turnstile gates leading into the stadium.

Thinking her ticket was genuine, Shangguan tried to scan the bar code of the screenshot ticket Yang sent her to pass through the gate. However, she was refused entry.

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Yang later contacted Shangguan and told her to go to Gate 3. They waited near that gate for about 10 minutes as Yang spoke to Li, before he approached the trio to confirm they were the ones wanting to buy the tickets.

He asked one of the three to make payment of 12,000 yuan for three VIP tickets to an Alipay user called “Xue Mei”. The amount was refunded the next day.

After the trio transferred the money, Yang walked around the area behind Gate 3, periodically looking towards the turnstile gates to identify an opportunity for the trio to tailgate a concertgoer into the venue.

When he noticed no security guards at the three leftmost turnstiles due to a commotion nearby that required the attention of three of four guards stationed there, Yang brought Li’s attention to the turnstile.

Li walked to the leftmost turnstile, where two concertgoers were queuing to scan their tickets. Yang squeezed through the queues which formed at the three rightmost turnstiles and approached the only security officer.

Taylor Swift performs during “Taylor Swift | The Eras Tour” at the National Stadium on March 02, 2024 in Singapore. Photo: Getty Images for TAS Rights Management

After briefly looking in Li’s direction, Yang drew the security guard’s attention to a supposed ticket on his phone, asking for directions to Gate 15.

This was designed to distract the security officer from Li’s move to help the trio tailgate the concertgoer into the venue.

Just then, Li pushed a concertgoer aside and signalled for the trio to come towards him, holding on to the turnstile to prevent it from locking. Li then pushed the group of three through the turnstile.

When the group successfully entered the venue, Yang and Li turned to leave. A concertgoer informed the security guard that three people had tailgated her, but he was unable to find them.

The incident at the turnstiles was captured on closed-circuit television at the Singapore Sports Hub.

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After he left Gate 3, Yang entered the National Stadium through another gate sometime before 6pm.

He met the three travellers around 20 minutes later, where he handed them three yellow VIP wristbands, which were genuine official event merchandise given out to VIP Eras Tour ticket holders.

Yang told the group to proceed to the VIP seating area and left the stadium. He and Li were later arrested when police were dispatched to the scene.

Police investigations found two screenshots depicting Eras Tour tickets for March 2 and March 4 on Li’s phone. The March 4 ticket was almost identical to what Yang had sent to Shangguan.

“Swifties” take selfies with their tickets as they arrive to attend the first day of her concert at the National Stadium in Singapore on March 2. EPA-EFE

The March 4 screenshot bore a few discrepancies: It stated that March 4 was a Saturday instead of Monday, and bore an “uncharacteristically large” number 4 that was likely added, Deputy Public Prosecutor Darren Ang told the court.

During investigations, Yang had also claimed he was a Taylor Swift fan but was unable to name or sing any of her songs, or provide an explanation as to why he could not name or sing any songs.

In mitigation, Yang, who was unrepresented, said that it was the first time he had left his country and his first visit to Singapore.

He pleaded for leniency and said he planned to refer the trio to scalpers. Yang also said that his wife had died, and he had custody of his two young children that he wished to return to quickly.

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He added that he would not commit an offence again and would educate his children to ensure they, too, would not commit any offences.

Those who commit cheating can be jailed for up to 10 years and fined.

Anyone who commits criminal trespass can be jailed for up to three months, be fined up to S$1,500 (US$1,100) or receive both punishments.

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