Two in hospital after iPad2 shopping frenzy
The frenzy caused by the iPad 2's debut on the mainland turned bloody on Saturday, as a small riot broke out and at least two people were sent to hospital, mainland media reported.
Reports said a foreigner in an Apple uniform used his fists and a stick on customers as the staff tried to remove iPad scalpers and stop people jumping the queue - and the shop had to close temporarily after chaos broke out and a window was smashed.
An officer at Sanlitun police station confirmed to the South China Morning Post yesterday that the incident happened on Saturday afternoon at the Apple Store in Sanlitun Village, one of the biggest shopping districts in Beijing's embassy area, with one foreigner involved.
Apple China did not return the Post's call and made no official response about the incident.
The iPad 2 was officially launched on the mainland the previous day, and drew masses of fans queuing up at stores in major cities including Beijing and Shanghai. In the store at Sanlitun, almost 1,000 people turned up. Some of them were scalpers trying to cash in on the supply shortage.
Ding Wencheng, one of the victims, told the Legal Evening News in the emergency room of Chaoyang Hospital on Saturday that he was standing in the queue to buy an iPhone for his wife when a foreigner in an Apple uniform came up and shouted at him in English.
Unable to understand, Ding said he did not know how to react.
Suddenly the Apple employee, described as very tall, grabbed Ding's collar and threw him out of the queue, causing him to bleed from his mouth and an injury at his waist.
The newspaper cited the authorities yesterday as saying that a foreign employee of Apple was involved in the incident and injured several mainland residents.
Another victim suffered a head injury, according to the Beijing Morning Post.
The victim said he was neither a scalper nor trying to jump the queue.
An angry mob surrounded the Apple store quickly and demanded that it hand over the employee, who had retreated inside.
A glass pane of the store was broken. But police arrived to disperse the crowd and prevent further violence.
Nobody was arrested, according to mainland media.
The store reopened yesterday and business returned to normal, according to an Apple employee in a telephone interview.
'But the queue has disappeared,' she said.
More than 3,000 internet users joined a discussion on QQ.com about the incident yesterday, with many calling it an example of racial discrimination against Chinese.