A near riot broke out at Beijing’s flagship Apple store as crowds rushed to buy the new iPad 2 tablet computer, AFP reports citing Chinese state media.
Four people were injured after a “non-Chinese” Apple employee reportedly stepped into the crowd to push back and “beat” people suspected of queue jumping, using an iron rod, the Beijing News reports. A crowd smashed the store’s glass front door and shoved security guards in the Sanlitun shopping area of Beijing, angry over the alleged beatings.
The four customers, including two young men and two middle-aged women, were sent to a nearby hospital for treatment to head and back injuries, Chinese media reported.
Online images show the damage to the shop and to customers waiting to buy the new iPad.
A video shows the damage to the store's front door.
Crowds had queued for hours in front of the Apple stores in Beijing and Shanghai to buy the iPad 2, but there was reportedly not enough product to meet the demand. In Beijing, the tablet computer sold out within four hours. Due to high demand, some people had begun selling their place in line, while others resold their new iPad for profit after leaving the store, Beijing News reports.
Wang Ming, 30, said the fight broke out between a "foreign" Apple employee and a Chinese customer who had allegedly cut in line and was a scalper. Wang said he had been passing by the store when a bottle hit his head, causing a gash, The Associated Press reports.
The Beijing Apple store has reportedly posted a sign saying that queue-jumping and scalper sales of iPad 2 tablets will not be tolerated.
The launch of the original iPad last year saw customers waiting more than 60 hours to buy the device, AppleInsider reports.