A Canadian visiting London was reportedly arrested and spent the weekend in a holding cell for charges of "touting" — or scalping — a pair of Olympic tennis tickets at Wimbledon.
The Vancouver man, identified as 38-year-old Kenneth Gaba, was arrested on Saturday and pleaded guilty on Monday to trying to sell two spare tickets for the equivalent of $78.55 Cdn apiece, London's Telegraph newspaper reported.
A district judge with the Lavender Hill Magistrates Court accepted Gaba's assertion that he was on holiday and had bought the tickets legitimately online, but didn't want to go to the tennis match alone when he couldn't meet up with a friend, the newspaper said.
Police observing him carry a newspaper in a "suspicious" manner, apparently to conceal tickets, swept in when they overheard him negotiating prices with another man, the Telegraph said. A judge waived a $471 fine, reasoning that Gaba had already spent two nights in jail.
"That may seem like a bit of harsh treatment there," CBC's Dominic Valitis reported from London. "It is harsh, but I think that's just an indication of how seriously the authorities here are taking the issue of ticket touting, or ticket scalping."
Valitis noted that so far, there have been 29 arrests and 11 people charged related to trying to make money by illegally selling tickets to the London Games.
A Twitter user with the name Ken Gaba previously attempted to sell Vancouver Canucks hockey tickets online, though CBC News could not confirm it was the same person arrested in London.
The U.K. passed a special Olympics law in 2006 that includes penalties for ticket scalping. Last year, it raised the maximum fine for scalping tickets to £20,000, or as much as $31,400 for each offence.