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Police break up iPhone 4S line outside Hong Kong Apple Store after altercation

post #1 of 37
Thread Starter 
Hundreds of people lined up for the release of the iPhone 4S in Hong Kong were reportedly dispersed by police Wednesday evening after customers got in an argument with professional queuers outside the Apple Store.

The recently opened Apple Store in Hong Kong is expected to see crushing 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 within just 10 minutes of availability last Friday, serving as an early indication that the handset will be a hit in the region.

According to M.I.C. Gadget, customers began waiting in line Tuesday at noon. Witnesses alleged that a group of professional queuers believed to be in the employ of a gray market iPhone reseller threatened the customers and attempted to cut in line. The police eventually arrived to resolve the issue, but the scalpers quickly returned after the officers left. The scalpers reportedly receive $500 HKD ($64) to wait in line for their bosses.

The publication also noted that the number of queuers outside the Hong Kong IFC Apple Store number "a lot more" than those outside the flagship Fifth Avenue store in New York. A separate report noted that, due to "poor air ventilation," a woman had an epileptic seizure while waiting in line.

Police reportedly began blocking the footbridge where customers were waiting. Scalpers and consumers alike were encouraged to go home, resulting in a game of "hide and seek" between officers and the 'professionals.'

As of Thursday, the line appears to have resumed along the footbridge, but with stricter enforcement this time. Videos have emerged of security officials managing a lengthy queue along the footbridge that appeared to number in the thousands.



The iPhone 4S arrived in the U.S. and several other countries on Oct. 14. Sales of the device reached a record 4 million units in the first weekend. Apple has pushed to bring its fastest international rollout ever for the iPhone 4S According to one analyst, stores in the U.S. continue to experience daily stock-outs.

Apple remains confident it will set an all-time record with sales of the iPhone 4S this quarter. UBS analyst Maynard Um predicts the company could sell as many as 42.5 million units worldwide during the period.

post #2 of 37
'Surreal' does not do justice to the scene outside now. I posted some pics here on my blog:

http://penguinsix.com/2011/11/10/mas...prior-to-sale/

1000s of people are in line. There are holding 'pens' where groups of 20 have been segregated out by police and security officials in an attempt to bring order to the lines but 100s more are bunched together waiting to get into the pen (that's what the video shows).

The people in line will make about $100 USD per phone when the resell them in Mongkok and in Mainland China. There are almost no 'fanboys' in line--it's primarily low income 'mules' working for the resellers, and folks out to make a quick profit. I even saw some women bring their small children into the line.

post #3 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by penguinsix View Post

The people in line will make about $100 USD per phone when the resell them in Mongkok and in Mainland China. There are almost no 'fanboys' in line--it's primarily low income 'mules' working for the resellers, and folks out to make a quick profit. I even saw some women bring their small children into the line.

Hmm. My auntie from HK is coming to visit this weekend. Maybe we can load up on iPhones and make a few bucks?

PS - Is that macaroni with "luncheon meat" that the little girl is eating? Classic!
post #4 of 37
Keep in mind, there's absolutely no reason for someone who is not a scalper or mule to wait in line. Delivery through carriers is five days. Delivery though the online Apple Store is five days. Only scalpers who need to pay cash and who need it 'now' would think it's worth it to wait and endure the queue. The rest of us get a nice subsidy and we just wait a few more days.
post #5 of 37
Don't bother trying to make money, especially if you're from the US and/or have to pay sales taxes. (nobody wants US phones, don't ask me how I know) HK has no sales tax, and the current going rate in Mong Kok is just over 100 USD profit. I suspect that once the phones are released tomorrow, that profit will drop to 50 USD or less. I think apple has managed their supply chain much better this go-around and lots of these scalpers are wasting their time.
post #6 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by tonton View Post

Keep in mind, there's absolutely no reason for someone who is not a scalper or mule to wait in line. Delivery through carriers is five days. Delivery though the online Apple Store is five days. Only scalpers who need to pay cash and who need it 'now' would think it's worth it to wait and endure the queue. The rest of us get a nice subsidy and we just wait a few more days.

You have no idea what you are talking about - this is Asia not the US. Apple Hong Kong sold out online in 10 minutes and you haven't been able to order one since. They can not possibly keep up with demand in Hong Kong as most of the phones will go to the mainland where it hasn't launched yet. This is the historic pattern for this region, shortages that last for months.
post #7 of 37
Anyone who believes Apple is cutting down on parts is being fooled into selling their shares. Sorry, but this version of the phone [with Siri] is going to dwarf the sales of the prior two revisions, combined.
post #8 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by FreeRange View Post

You have no idea what you are talking about - this is Asia not the US. Apple Hong Kong sold out online in 10 minutes and you haven't been able to order one since. They can not possibly keep up with demand in Hong Kong as most of the phones will go to the mainland where it hasn't launched yet. This is the historic pattern for this region, shortages that last for months.

Dude. Chill. I walked into the 3 shop not half a block away from my flat yesterday, signed a 24 month contract for HK$298, paid about HK$1500 for the 64GB Black 4S, prepaid about $4800 of my contract dues in advance, and I will have my iPhone in my hand on Monday. Maybe Smartone or PCCW doesn't treat you so well, or maybe you get a raw deal from them just because you're an asshole, I don't know.

So I was wrong about the online Apple Shop. But you can still get your subsidized phone at the carrier, like I JUST did.

By the way, I've been living here in HK for sixteen years.

I also got the iPad 2 I wanted, retail, about a week after it was available here, so I know about lines, and also that they don't last forever, if you know where to go.
post #9 of 37
I'm curious but was everybody Kung Fu fighting and were their kicks fast as lighting?
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post #10 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by dasanman69 View Post

I'm curious but was everybody Kung Fu fighting and were their kicks fast as lighting?

That's the first thing that came to my mind, too.
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post #11 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by dasanman69 View Post

I'm curious but was everybody Kung Fu fighting and were their kicks fast as lighting?

Yes and it was a little bit frightening
post #12 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

That's the first thing that came to my mind, too.

I was literally laughing as I wrote it.
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"Just because something is deemed the law doesn't make it just" - SolipsismX
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"I got the answer by talking in my brain and I agreed of the answer my brain got" a 7 yr old explaining his math HW
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post #13 of 37
I see capitalism is alive and kicking (pun definitely intended) in Communist China. The want of an iPhone never ceases to amaze.
"I got the answer by talking in my brain and I agreed of the answer my brain got" a 7 yr old explaining his math HW
"Just because something is deemed the law doesn't make it just" - SolipsismX
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"I got the answer by talking in my brain and I agreed of the answer my brain got" a 7 yr old explaining his math HW
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post #14 of 37
Boy, imagine lining up for hours only to be sent home by the cops. That sucks.
post #15 of 37
Potential investors must have missed this video. Apple shares are continuing to tank even after a market recovery.
post #16 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by benjaminm3 View Post

Don't bother trying to make money, especially if you're from the US and/or have to pay sales taxes. (nobody wants US phones, don't ask me how I know)

yes in fact they do. Because there are dozens of scalpers at the 5th ave store every day trying to get phones. They don't get them because of the reservation system being used in the US but they are trying.
post #17 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post

Anyone who believes Apple is cutting down on parts is being fooled into selling their shares. Sorry, but this version of the phone [with Siri] is going to dwarf the sales of the prior two revisions, combined.

Actually Siri really isn't the issue. Why? Because it only works in the US.

It is selling like crazy because it an iPhone and lets face, they always sell. Conspiracy types will be wondering if there's some kind of mind control in those ads, keynotes etc. Cause if Apple sells it, the world comes and buys it. Even when Consumer Reports dropped their recommend over the iPhone 4's actually tiny percent of antenna issues in places were the carrier service sucks, folks still buy like crazy and nothing was ever done to 'fix' the issue other than the placebo of free bumpers for a couple of months
post #18 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shaun, UK View Post

Yes and it was a little bit frightening

ooh ooh ooh!
post #19 of 37
Why is this report so one sided? They didn't mention the fights that broke up in a Samsung Galaxy Tab line. Of course, that line was the returns line at BestBuy and the people were fighting to see who could return their Tab first.
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post #20 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by charlituna View Post

yes in fact they do. Because there are dozens of scalpers at the 5th ave store every day trying to get phones. They don't get them because of the reservation system being used in the US but they are trying.

I've actually tried to sell US phones here.

#1 the sellers in HK don't trust the US phones, and will need to open them up to ensure that they are indeed unlocked. The only way to get an unlocked phone in the US right now is through a CDMA carrier or if you get lucky with an off-contract ATT phone.

#2 the US phones sell for a discount when compared to any other country's unlocked iphone because of the said due diligence they need to do, and the fact that the phone has to be taken out of its packaging to do those checks. Once you throw in sales tax and shipping costs, you aren't even breaking even given HK pricing at the moment.

Any profit that was left in selling these phones will be gone as soon as the phone comes out officially tomorrow.
post #21 of 37
so, does everyone still think I'm racist for blaming the Chinese for f*ing up our 5th Ave, NYC lines? screw y'all.
post #22 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by rgh71 View Post

so, does everyone still think I'm racist for blaming the Chinese for f*ing up our 5th Ave, NYC lines? screw y'all.

This post seems to reinforce it. Are you saying that unethical behavior is innate to their being?
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post #23 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

This post seems to reinforce it. Are you saying that unethical behavior is innate to their being?

no i am not. it is driven by economics. what is wrong with you?
post #24 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by rgh71 View Post

no i am not. it is driven by economics. what is wrong with you?

Your first comment on the other thread was "At the NYC Fifth Ave store, there is a big problem with the Chinese." with an included subject of "chinese", not scalpers or Apple Store purchase polices suck. Then you put scalpers in quotes as if to note you really mean the Chinese, not so much scalpers in general.

Then you post on this thread "so, does everyone still think I'm racist for blaming the Chinese for f*ing up our 5th Ave, NYC lines? screw y'all." Where is the connection to 5th Avenue? The only connection you appear to be making is that Chinese are unscrupulous people. Justifying racism doesn't make it any less racist.

The fact is people are the same all over the fucking world and no slight variance in your genetic make up between these supposed races will alter how the whole acts.

For your comment to not be racist it should have focused on the scalpers, not any particular people that you have determined are the only scalpers or worse offenders. Just the scalpers! That includes not chiming in on this thread about an altercation because you think it backs up your previous comments about the Chinese people.
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post #25 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

For your comment to not be racist it should have focused on the scalpers, not any particular people that you have determined are the only scalpers or worse offenders. Just the scalpers! That includes not chiming in on this thread about an altercation because you think it backs up your previous comments about the Chinese people.

It's called being precise. Anybody who waited in those lines, like I did, for the iPad 2 awhile back, saw that it was Chinese scalpers who made up the vast majority of the scalpers. Pointing that out is not being racist. Stating a fact is not being racist.

It's also helpful to know who your enemies are. And the scalpers are the enemies of all Apple fans and people looking to buy Apple products. Knowing the exact makeup of the scalpers allows people to plan ahead and to intelligently choose which Apple stores to visit, where there will most likely be the least amount of scalpers. Having accurate intelligence and doing reconnaissance before going into battle is a wise thing to do if somebody is looking to win.
post #26 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

Your first comment on the other thread was "At the NYC Fifth Ave store, there is a big problem with the Chinese." with an included subject of "chinese", not scalpers or Apple Store purchase polices suck. Then you put scalpers in quotes as if to note you really mean the Chinese, not so much scalpers in general.

Then you post on this thread "so, does everyone still think I'm racist for blaming the Chinese for f*ing up our 5th Ave, NYC lines? screw y'all." Where is the connection to 5th Avenue? The only connection you appear to be making is that Chinese are unscrupulous people. Justifying racism doesn't make it any less racist.

The fact is people are the same all over the fucking world and no slight variance in your genetic make up between these supposed races will alter how the whole acts.

For your comment to not be racist it should have focused on the scalpers, not any particular people that you have determined are the only scalpers or worse offenders. Just the scalpers! That includes not chiming in on this thread about an altercation because you think it backs up your previous comments about the Chinese people.

the line is "full" of chinese scalpers. "tons" of "CHINESE" scalpers. that's all i'm "saying". if they were another race, i would have stated "that". whatever dude.
post #27 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

It's called being precise. Anybody who waited in those lines, like I did, for the iPad 2 awhile back, saw that it was Chinese scalpers who made up the vast majority of the scalpers. Pointing that out is not being racist. Stating a fact is not being racist.

It's also helpful to know who your enemies are. And the scalpers are the enemies of all Apple fans and people looking to buy Apple products. Knowing the exact makeup of the scalpers allows people to plan ahead and to intelligently choose which Apple stores to visit, where there will most likely be the least amount of scalpers. Having accurate intelligence and doing reconnaissance before going into battle is a wise thing to do if somebody is looking to win.

It's not being precise when you don't address that the problem exists because of Apple's lenient policies for buying an iPad (even though there are pitfalls for trying to exclude scalpers that could very easily exclude many 1st-person consumers). It's not precise when you make the assumption they are Chinese by merely looking at them. From the images I've seen of the lines most are fairly young, which leads me to assume that most are US citizens, just trying to make a buck in hard economic times.

If you see a business opportunity then you should go for it if you deem it worth your time and effort, as long as it falls within the law. If Apple doesn't like all these iPads being sent overseas to various countries by various groups of people then they need to change the rules of how they sell their devices. Don't put the blame on 1.3 billion people.

It's about the evil Chinese and an in-line altercation is not proof that they are evil scum that don't deserve to have any access to Apple's products. I'm surprised his initial comment didn't start out as "I don't hate Chinese people, but…".
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post #28 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

It's not precise when you make the assumption they are Chinese by merely looking at them.

I already went through all of this back when the iPad 2 was released and I have no desire to relive that nightmare again, but I will merely point out and quickly repeat what I wrote in those previous threads.

I am not making any assumptions simply by looking at people. As I pointed out before, standing next to me in line was a Chinese-American Apple fan who was not a sleazy scalper. We spoke for quite a while and he acted as a realtime translator for me.
post #29 of 37
The issue here is the grey market that supplies to all of the mainland visitors that come in to Hong Kong, not the ability to buy from the telecomunications companies.

These people lining up aren't wasting their time as the grey market prices will still be high until the 4S is released in the mainland and is widely available.

It is truly a sad state. I think that Apple should have restricted sales to 1 or 2 per person in Hong Kong with the presentation of an id card. I would say 95% of the people are just lining up to make a quick buck from resale and for people who wanted to have the Apple Fanboy experience at the first Apple Store in Hong Kong that has been ruined.

Of course you can get it from 3 but for someone like me that didn't want to buy the subsidized phone and sign their rigid 2 year contract, it will be a long wait.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tonton View Post

Dude. Chill. I walked into the 3 shop not half a block away from my flat yesterday, signed a 24 month contract for HK$298, paid about HK$1500 for the 64GB Black 4S, prepaid about $4800 of my contract dues in advance, and I will have my iPhone in my hand on Monday. Maybe Smartone or PCCW doesn't treat you so well, or maybe you get a raw deal from them just because you're an asshole, I don't know.

So I was wrong about the online Apple Shop. But you can still get your subsidized phone at the carrier, like I JUST did.

By the way, I've been living here in HK for sixteen years.

I also got the iPad 2 I wanted, retail, about a week after it was available here, so I know about lines, and also that they don't last forever, if you know where to go.
post #30 of 37
You can easily make over $100 USD, maybe even $200 USD per phone, and you can order 10 from the Apple Online store.

Believe what you will about China's economy, these are poor people lining up so they can sell to the rich. They take the device back to China, where it is un-cripppled, unlocked and fully useable, compared with China Unicom's watered down version which sells for an even higher price. It's a sure sale.

If only China was released at the same time HK was, then the lineups wouldn't be in HK!
post #31 of 37
This whole fiasco (as with iPad2), is caused by Apple Hong Kong mis-management.

In other regions, Apple tries to put its product into the hands of as many fans as possible with a 1 or 2 unit cap. Apple HK limits to 10 online and 5 at the store. One guy bragged about getting 60 units using multiple credit cards. You'd have to be a moron not to realize that the units are being sold out to the grey-market resellers - mostly mainlanders. A 5 or 10 unit limit means Apple HK is knowingly colluding in this illicit trade and doesn't seem to really care about its loyal consumers.
post #32 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by kotawi View Post

This whole fiasco (as with iPad2), is caused by Apple Hong Kong mis-management.

In other regions, Apple tries to put its product into the hands of as many fans as possible with a 1 or 2 unit cap. Apple HK limits to 10 online and 5 at the store. One guy bragged about getting 60 units using multiple credit cards. You'd have to be a moron not to realize that the units are being sold out to the grey-market resellers - mostly mainlanders. A 5 or 10 unit limit means Apple HK is knowingly colluding in this illicit trade and doesn't seem to really care about its loyal consumers.

I would have to agree on that, and from the usual business workings, I believe the apple managers in hong kong have a hand in the grey market profiting as well.

It's sad to see Steve Jobs proud creations being manipulated by shady practices with only profit in mind.
post #33 of 37
If, when I get my 4S on Monday afternoon, I can then turn around and sell it to the scalpers for HK$1000 mark-up on retail, I might just do that, and wait and buy another 4S with cash in a couple weeks when it's more widely available. I'm debating it. $1000 for a couple weeks delay? It might just be worth it.
post #34 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by zeasar View Post

I would have to agree on that, and from the usual business workings, I believe the apple managers in hong kong have a hand in the grey market profiting as well.

It's sad to see Steve Jobs proud creations being manipulated by shady practices with only profit in mind.

You might be right - it is difficult to come up with any logical explanation why apple would knowingly abuse their fans like that.
post #35 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by kotawi View Post

You might be right - it is difficult to come up with any logical explanation why apple would knowingly abuse their fans like that.

As a fan, I have my phone. Apple, as of the afternoon of 11 November, is only accepting per-orders, by credit card, with ID, limited to two per customer, or you can get a subsidized handset from the carrier. There are no more direct sales. There are no more lines. Seems Apple fixed the problem.
post #36 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by tonton View Post

Apple, as of the afternoon of 11 November, is only accepting per-orders, by credit card, with ID, limited to two per customer, or you can get a subsidized handset from the carrier. There are no more direct sales. There are no more lines. Seems Apple fixed the problem.

Having no stock because it gave all the stock to scalpers and ceasing direct sales is hardly a solution. Intersting logic you have there... No stock, no sales, no line-ups, no problem.
post #37 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by kotawi View Post

Having no stock because it gave all the stock to scalpers and ceasing direct sales is hardly a solution. Intersting logic you have there... No stock, no sales, no line-ups, no problem.

They have stock. A limited number of people can order the iPhone 4S from the online Apple Store today, and pick it up at the IFC store tomorrow. They are getting more stock on a daily basis. This is not what "sold out" means.

Likewise, for the carriers. You can walk into many carriers' shops today, and walk out with a new iPhone 4S, depending on which model you prefer.

When I ordered my iPhone 4S on Friday, my carrier (3HK) told me to come back on Monday to pick it up. On a whim, I went in on Sunday and asked if it was there, and they said, "sure". And I walked out with my iPhone 4S a few minutes later. This after "All Hong Kong [was] sold out of the iPhone 4S in two hours" on Friday.
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