Lines outside the Apple store in Beijing’s Sanlitun district show no signs of shortening, causing frustration for the thousands of fans and scalpers desperate to get their hands on the iPhone 4S. Now some of that disappointment is turning to anger, with reports of fights breaking out between gangs of scalpers, and guess what, Beijing SWAT teams arrived. So, the Apple store employees later announced that the launch of iPhone 4S is cancelled at the Apple’s flagship store in Beijing, and all scalpers are pissed.
Scalpers Throw Eggs At Apple Store
This happened at Apple’s flagship store in Beijing. Before the launch, Apple had advertised that the Sanlitun store would open at 7 a.m. However, Apple delayed the opening of its store. The decision was reached after fights and scuffles between scalpers and police broke out in the pre-dawn hours outside the store. So, at about 7:15 a.m., the massive crowd began chanting “Open the door!” and “Liars!” after a man with a bullhorn said the iPhone 4S would not go on sale today, without giving an explanation.
The man with a bullhorn appears to be a security officer
The security officer shouted: “Please go back home! No iPhone 4S!”
The crowd was also shouting profanities at Apple,
“FXXK off! Apple! You should get out of the China mobile market!”
After the Sanlitun store decided not to sell the 4S, the crowd expressed its displeasure by pelting the storefront with eggs. Yes, real eggs!
Scalpers bought eggs and egged the Sanlitun Apple store
Security Officer Got Beat Up By Scalpers:
When the Apple store was pelted with eggs from a crowd of about 500 people, a security officer tried to stop the egg throwing. However, the crowd of irate customers chased away the security officer, and some even tried to beat him up.
The security officer went to the hospital with serious injuries
SWAT Teams Break Up Chaos:
The scalpers became so unruly that the SWAT teams were called in to restore order after fighting broke out at 4 a.m. Several scalpers were forcefully escorted away by the SWAT team. But some were threatening to assault the police.
A police jeep outside the store:
This is Beijing’s SWAT team
The conflicts have been significant enough to attract the attention of Chinese police
Police use force on angry scalper
Police pulls a woman away from the Apple store
The Scalpers, Pro-Queuers, and Customers
There are over thousands of people at the scene and seems like 99% of them are scalpers, according to local media reports. And according to our tipster, the scalpers have organized into teams of 30-50 scalpers, just like military forces. They are ready to buy the phones in bulk, and re-sell the phones right in front of the store at a hefty premium. They are pricing a 16GB iPhone 4S up to RMB 5,588 (original price is RMB 4,988).
Thousands of people stand outside the Apple store, all waiting for the store to open:
A scalper pointing middle finger at the Apple store
Scalpers were counting money
iPhone 4S purchase limit is two per customer, and scalpers were reselling the phones
Two different teams of scalpers
Some line-waiters in the crowd