Apple suspends iPhone sales in China after big stampede

Apple suspends iPhone sales in China after big stampede

BEIJING - Agence France-Presse
Apple suspends iPhone sales in China after big stampede

A man is dragged away by police after he refuses to leave the front of the Apple store in the Beijing or Jan 13, 2012. REUTERS photo

Apple said Jan. 13 that it was suspending sales of the new iPhone at its China stores after fans desperate to get their hands on it fought with security and threw eggs at an outlet.

Police detained at least two people outside the Beijing shop on Jan. 13 when angry crowds which had queued for hours for the iPhone 4S were left furious after being refused entry. An Agence France-Presse reporter outside the store in the upmarket Sanlitun district saw frustrated shoppers attack a security guard after police with megaphones shouted at the 1,000-strong crowd to go home and said the gadget would not go on sale.

“We waited here all night. It’s not fair,” said 18-year-old Tom Sun. “We’re angry because this American company told us it would open its doors at 7 a.m.”

Apple said its other mainland China stores - another in Beijing and three in Shanghai - had sold out of the new device within hours.

“The demand for iPhone 4S has been incredible,” said spokeswoman Carolyn Wu. “Unfortunately we were unable to open our store at Sanlitun due to the large crowd, and to ensure the safety of our customers and employees, iPhones will not be available in our retail stores in Beijing and Shanghai for the time being.”

Some of the people gathered outside the Sanlitun store from the early hours on Jan. 13 said they had been paid 100 yuan ($16) each by touts to stand in line and wait for the doors to open.
One young Chinese man who refused to give his name said he planned to buy as many of the phones as he could and resell them at a profit of at least 500 yuan ($79) a piece.

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