Race for Jacko tickets

Touts selling tickets to Michael Jackson's memorial have sparked an Internet "war".

Official passes to the star-studded tribute at Los Angeles' Staples Center today were offered for sale on auction websites minutes after the lottery for free tickets was drawn last night.

Some people were selling as many as five tickets and boasting about the cash they'd make from them, prompting fans who missed out to "declare war" on the touts.

One fan who was among the two million people who failed to secure one of the 17500 free tickets offered to the general public said: "It's totally out of order and against the spirit of the whole event. I was gutted not to get a ticket.

"The touts should be ashamed. You just don't get lower than trying to make money off a person's death."

Some tickets to the memorial event that starts at 10am, two hours after the Jackson family's private funeral at Hollywood's Forest Lawn ceremony, were being sold for up to R7000 each.

Auction site eBay has vowed to stop the sale of tickets to the event.

A spokesperson said: "Any tickets for the memorial service will be taken down."

In a bid to prevent touts selling tickets outside the event, promoter AEG Live have announced plans to fit fans with special wristbands when they pick up their tickets.

Anyone with ripped or broken wristbands "will not be allowed" to enter the stadium.

Los Angeles police are bracing for an influx of up to one million fans from around the world and have warned anyone without a ticket to stay away and watch the memorial on TV instead.

But fans seem unlikely to obey the police, with American Airlines announcing flights to Los Angeles already sold out.

Jackson will be buried at a Los Angeles cemetery today shortly before a gala tribute to the pop icon at an arena here, the city's acting mayor said.

The funeral will take place at Forest Lawn Cemetery at 8am, two hours before the memorial service at the downtown Staples Centre, Jan Perry told the local NBC television affiliate yesterday.

Perry, a city councilwoman, is in charge of Los Angeles as Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is on vacation in South Africa. - BANG