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Monday, January 30, 2012, 10:49 am PT (01:49 pm ET)

Apple Hong Kong instates iPhone lottery to combat rowdy scalpers

Faced with an influx of grey marketers and incidents of repeated violence over sales of the iPhone 4S in Hong Kong, Apple has turned to a safer, more secure system for divvying out new stock of the handset to customers each day.

An update to the electronic's maker's Hong Kong web site now presents customers with a lottery system, by which they have three hours each day (9am - 12pm) to place a request for a specific iPhone model.

Customers who are selected will receive an email by 9pm that evening with instructions on picking up their iPhone at a specific time the following day. The Apple Store IFC Mall in Hong Kong has since halted sales to walk-in customers, deferring all local customers to the new system.

Since its launch in Hong Kong this past November, limited supplies of the iPhone 4S have seen scalpers flood the city, spurring altercations and creating random acts of violence that have marred the Apple experience and jeopardized the general safety of legitimate customers.

According to one report, scalpers receive $500 HKD ($64) to wait in line for their ringleaders, who look to export the unlocked phones to mainland China, where they are not only more expensive but also come locked to Apple's official carriers.



As part of its new lottery system, Apple is asking that all customers who request an iPhone provide their government ID.