updated 11:20 am EST, Mon January 30, 2012
Customers must provide full ID
Apple Hong Kong is taking stricter measures in a bid to cope with iPhone scalpers. A page on the company's online store now presents a lottery system for iPhone buyers, preventing them from using bots to make online reservations as soon as new phones are available. The iPhone 4 and 4S are no longer available to walk-in buyers at the company's Hong Kong retail store.
The lottery is moreover limited to a three-hour window each day, with winners being notified by 9PM. Even completing a reservation now requires more identification, including a government photo ID. People who do get a notification must pick up their phone the next day at a specific time.
Scalping has become a serious problem in China, and Hong Kong in particular. The situation is not only preventing legitimate customers from buying iPhones, but sometimes resulting in confrontations and outright violence. Hong Kong is a special target since the iPhone is often cheaper there than in mainland China, and already unlocked for use with any compatible carrier.