|Fans and scalpers line up outside Apple’s retail location at Sanlitun Village, Chaoyang district, for the Chinese mainland release of the iPhone 4s last night. (Photo: James Tiscione/GT)|
Thousands of people were paid to line up at Beijing’s two Apple Stores at Sanlitun and Xidan for a buy-off of the iPhone 4S, which are launched on the Chinese mainland this morning.
Scalpers, people hired by scalpers and even some who claim to be Apple employees, started gathering at the two Apple stores as early as 5 pm yesterday, ready for the night-long wait until the stores began to release the iPhone 4S at 7 am today.
A Global Times reporter found hundreds of people had already gathered at the Sanlitun Apple Store at 7:30 pm yesterday. A few police officers stood by with police dogs, watching some people set up chairs outside for dinner. Some of them tried to bring their seats inside the store for better positions but were kicked out by store employees, according to pictures from Web users who were tweeting about their experience waiting at Sanlitun for the launch.
"We have security guards to maintain the line in order when we start the launch tomorrow, and they’ll manage those who start fights,” said one store employee at Sanlitun, referring to reports of fights between two groups of scalpers last weekend.
Ning Weiping, an employee with Jones Lang LaSalle, the property management company overseeing the Village, said they had not made any emergency plans for possible disorder because the store did not inform them of the new launch.