Over three thousand people gathered outside the Hong Kong Apple store for the launch of the iPhone 4S in Hong Kong, but Apple will only allow 1,250 people to line up. A scuffle nearly broke out, and police were called to keep everything under control.
This post will be continually updated. Click here for our previous coverage.
UPDATE 12:00am: 7 hours left on this iPhone 4S launch, more police were called in to try their best to keep everything under control. No Apple employees are seen, but we saw special Hong Kong Police force.
Someone who looks like the chief of police was at there to support the police force too.
For those people who left their sorted pen, they were arguing with the police about the arrangement of allowing them to re-enter their sorted pen.
The police put up barricade tapes to stop people from entering particular zones.
From what we have seen at there, the police are fierce.
Interestingly, we saw a man standing in a corner with a MacBook and a big luggage. There’s a piece of paper on his luggage.
16GB: HK$6,100 – onwards, 32GB: HK$6,900 – onwards, 64GB: HK$7,700 – onwards
A security officer will use an iPad 2 to take a photo of you if you are leaving your sorted pen to go to the washroom or get some food. And you will be given a number to represent yourself. This is how the officer recognize you as one of the queuers that Apple is recognizing as eligible customers to purchase the iPhone 4S.
When you are back, the officer will ask for your number, and check your photo according to the number you given to them. If everything match, you will be allowed to re-enter your sorted pen.
However, the checking process takes a very long time for each person. And there’s over a thousand people to check…
Finally, we saw an Apple staff talking to everyone. Here’s what he said:
“Ok, now some of you people here… this is not the queue for Apple. THIS IS NOT THE QUEUE FOR APPLE. If you went to the toilet, the way to get to the queue is NOT this staircase. You have to go around the corner and join the queue. If you went to the toilet, this is NOT the place for you to come back to join the queue…,”
A lady was not feeling well in the queue, so an ambulance came to bring her to the hospital.
The recently opened Apple Store in Hong Kong is expected to see an overwhelming demand when the iPhone 4S goes on sale there on at 7 a.m. local time on Nov. 11. Preorders for the device sold out in 45 minutes of availability last Friday, and for those people who missed the chance to pre-order one, they queued outside the Apple store ahead of the release of the iPhone 4S.
Everybody expected that several Apple fans will camp out for the release, but apparently, scalpers and professional queuers were seen in the line too. The whole place was like a mess, and Apple called in the police and securities to set up cattle pens and fences to keep the line sitters from milling about and cutting in line.
50 pens were made, and each pen is filled with 25 people. The people inside the pens kinda look like sheep, goats, and pigs. What’s more, if someone tries to leave a pen to go to the washroom or get some food & drinks, security officials will photograph them with a camera so they will be allowed to re-enter their sorted pen. A man from mainland China who refused to give his name said,
“When you want something, you have to pay a price. The price I paid is that everyone has had to see me wait out here,”
Sadly, there’s more than 2,000 people stuck behind the last pen, and they are not recognized by Apple to purchase the iPhone 4S. As far as we know, no new pens will be set up for these people. A teenager from Hong Kong, Yu, said,
“Mother fxxker! I had been waiting all week standing and queuing even though it was raining! And you’re telling me I don’t deserve a place to get an iPhone 4S !?”
We can tell you that the scene is pretty surreal. We have reported that a group of professional queuers were seen threatening the customers, and they even attempted to cut in line. Actually, the professional queuers are low income migrant workers from places like Pakistan, Indonesia, etc. The locals named these people as the South Asians, and a scuffle nearly broke out several times when the South Asians cut in line. What’s more, there are old grandmothers, housewives, triad boys, and mainlanders waiting in line too. Most of them set up tents with mats, chairs and blankets.
The reason why you are seeing so much people lining up for the iPhone 4S is that each iPhone 4S you are able to buy will bring a profit of about HK$ 1,000 (129 USD). Most of the people who are lining up are resellers, they will sell the phones to the city’s gray market dealers for easy profits. Meanwhile, Apple is limiting 5 iPhones per person, so a reseller will clear a month’s worth of work if he/she managed to get in that pen to purchase the 4S. However, people are worried that Apple may change the policy, limiting 1 iPhone per person.
On Wednesday night, 400-500 people lined up outside the Hong Kong Apple store, and police were called to break up the unofficial iPhone 4S line outside the store after customers got in an argument with professional queuers. The whole thing is totally insane.
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M.I.C. (like “made-in-china” — or M-I-C) Gadget is a blog about life in China and subculture which includes tech knockoffs, Chinese events and everything else that comes under the genre. M.I.C. Gadget does not mean to criticize anything about China, only promise to bring the best stuff to your world of gadgets. We post about a variety of translated internet content from the Chinese-language internet, as well as all sorts of things gadget geeks might enjoy.
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