It brings a whole new meaning to the phrase "the crowd goes wild."
Long lines outside of Apple stores on the eve of a new product launch are common. But most of the time, violence and skirmishes prompting police intervention are rare. Unfortunately, such was the case yesterday in Hong Kong when the crowds grew rowdier than local police would allow.
M.I.C. Gadget, which chronicled the frenetic environment outside of the Apple store in Hong Kong, described the scene as one of chaotic excitement. So intense was the jockeying for position in line that authorities were forced to intervene when scalpers and other individuals from the iPhone "gray market" attempted to cut in line or pay their way into the line with cash incentives.
"I can't begin to accurately describe the scene on the walkways outside the Hong Kong Apple Store," one reporter in the region observed. "It's not Apple fans at all," he adds in reference to the unruly crowds. "It's line sitters and smugglers. They'll make $100 per phone, which is a week's wages for some of these low income people. Buy 5 phones and they make a month's salary."
The video below highlights the scene in question, which is notable for the shear size of the line. The crowd size, however, is not unexpected. Last week when it first became possible to preorder the iPhone 4S, the inventory was completely sold out within ten minutes.