A glass door worth US$46,200 was smashed in the fighting. (Photo/Internet)
An injured man in front of the Apple store. (Photo/Internet)
Violence erupted between customers and staff at an Apple store in the Sanlitun area of Beijing on Saturday afternoon (May 7), according to the official China Daily. The customers were suspected of being scalpers. Apple has as yet made no official comment on the incident.
Apple's iPad 2 went on sale in China on Friday morning, attracting many scalpers to buy the latest tablet computer to sell at a profit. The iPad 2 16G and 32G versions sold out quickly at many outlets. One internet user said on the Sina Weibo microblogging service that many scalpers were selling the iPad and the new white iPhone 4 just thirty meters away from the Apple store.
Witnesses said some people attempted to cut in a queue outside the Apple store, leading to a fight when security guards came to maintain order. A foreign man about 1.9m tall emerged from the store with a metal rod with which he reportedly struck several customers before returning inside.
A glass door was broken in the skirmish. Other members of the public who wanted to enter the store to confront the man were prevented by security. Sina News reported that the man is a foreign employee named John.
The Apple store then closed temporarily.
Wu Hailing, a reporter with the Legal Evening News, said on his microblog that two young men and two middle-aged women were beaten and are now in Chaoyang hospital. Family members said no any Apple representative has visited them and they were unable to reach the attacker from the store.
An Apple employee said however that the destroyed glass door cost 300,000 yuan (US$46,200).
While the incident has become a hot topic on Sina Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter, Apple has not offered a formal response.