From South China Morning Post:
Things got ugly outside the Apple Store in Central yesterday when, according to witnesses, professional queuers forced their way to the front of the line for Friday’s release of the newest iPhone.
About 15 people had lined up on the footbridge outside the IFC mall by noon yesterday in order to buy the new iPhone 4S when suddenly a group of young men appeared and barged to the front of the line.
“There were around 30 of them; they… threw away all our bags, laid some sleeping mats and sat down in front of us,” said Wong Ka-fai, who had been near the front of the queue.
Many of those in the queue said the men were South Asians, and probably professional queuers paid around HK$300 a day by dealers at Sincere Podium, a Mong Kok shopping mall famous for electronics, to buy up all the iPhones they could. Buyers are limited to five phones each.
Wong, 19, a student who started queuing on Monday night, said one man – whom he believed was a dealer from Sincere Podium – warned everyone else to leave the queue or he would call hundreds of South Asian men to chase them away.
Wong said he planned to buy as many of the 16G phones as he could and sell them to dealers at Sincere for a fee of HK$1,000 each.
The other queuers finally called the police, who noted down the South Asians’ identities. Then the young men left the area.
One man, who was seen making frequent phone calls and arranging positions in the queue for the South Asians, denied he was a dealer from Sincere Podium.
Tim Chan, 24, a computer repairer, who took a day off to queue up yesterday, slammed the poor organisation by Apple. “The Apple Store did not make any arrangements here. It is completely chaotic. I won’t queue up ever again. I just want to buy an iPhone, but the dealers want to stock up. It’s hopeless.”
Lau Chi-kong, manager of G-World Mobile at Sincere, a dealer in parallel imports of the phone, said he had so far sold more than 2,000 of the new iPhones. Some dealers in Sincere Podium employed professional queuers, he said, but he denied he was one of them.