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Hong Kongers fight for right to stand in line for iPhone 4S

Foreign pro queuers face wrath of indigenous amateurs

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Apple's Hong Kong store appeared to have banned the traditional queue fest ahead of its launch of the iPhone 4S this weekend, after "tongue fights" between "professional" queuers and their amateur counterparts threatened to get much nastier.

The queueing "ban" came after a day of rising tensions, which culminated in police "evacuating" the hundreds-strong line – which had extended right across a pedestrian footbridge.

The device is meant to go on sale at the weekend, but by Tuesday iOS fans obediently began lining up outside the former crown colony's newly minted AppleStore.

However, according to MICgadget.com South Asia "professional queuers" attempted to "barge" to the front of the line around noon.

The pro queuers are not being paid by Apple to create the usual fuss about a product launch, but are rather the sharp end of the grey market, snaffling up the devices – Apple has a limit of five per person – and reselling for a (even) higher price. Apparently the going rate for queuing is HKD500 (£40.37) a day.

MICgadget said the initial bargers had "a tongue fight" with the amateurs around noon, with the interlopers threatening to call in "hundreds of south Asian men to chase" the locals away.

This reportedly, "triggered many Hong Kongers’ madness". There were calls from locals to form a sort of popular militia of blue-shirted amateur queuers to see off the invading pros.

Police were called, prompting the departure of the invaders. However, once the police disappeared, they simply returned.

The ongoing skirmishing, and the accumulating "rubbishes", prompted police to clear the area completely by Wednesday evening, leaving HK-based Apple fans apparently bereft of that most basic tenet of democratic capitalism – the human right to stand in line for days on end to buy some Apple stuff.

However, according to AppleInsider, a more organised queue with "stricter enforcement" was back in place on Thursday, meaning Hong Kongers will not be deprived of the privilege of standing in line to buy commoditised electronics from Apple. ®

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