Thousands of Chinese tourists in Hangzhou stormed the management office in charge of a firefly display show after the insects failed to light up.
The South China Morning Post reported that some 10,000 tourists had paid 30 yuan (S$6) for tickets to watch the release of some 30,000 fireflies, as part of a popular summer firefly display at the Xiang Lake plaza in Hangzhou, China. Some had reportedly paid up to 180 yuan (S$36) for illegally-marked-up entry passes, too.
But when the excited visitors sat down by 7:30pm for the show to begin, they faced nothing but darkness. Two hours of nothingness later, it became clear that the fireflies were not going to glow. The crowds then turned angry and marched to the office demanding an explanation and a refund.
They received neither, however, and so many started vandalising nearby exhibition facilities, reported the China News Service. People were also pictured smashing windows and kicking down locker doors.
SCMP reported that the fireflies’ failure to emerge and glow on Wednesday, the show’s opening night, was attributed to temperatures in Xiaoshan being too low.
One tourist who was at the show criticised the event organisers on Chinese social media site Weibo for failing to give refunds, especially when some had travelled from far-flung provinces to see the show.
“We can live with the fact that no insects showed up, due to (the cold), but the organiser should have stopped selling tickets and offered us a refund,” the tourist wrote.
A local tabloid also reported that show organisers cancelled the rest of the display, which was supposed to run until Saturday, and told visitors to claim refunds for their tickets in the coming 10 days.
Meanwhile, local police are reportedly investigating the havoc wreaked by the angry mob.