By Philip Elmer-DeWitt
October 20, 2012

FORTUNE — Remember what happened in January when the iPhone 4S arrived in Beijing? Would-be customers and rival gangs of scalpers massed by the thousands outside the company’s two stores. Demand totally overwhelmed supply and SWAT teams had to be called in to control the rioting when Apple (AAPL) halted sales before they began.

The company hasn’t forgotten, and to prepare for the launch of the iPhone 5 in China — not yet announced but expected to happen before Chinese New Year shopping begins in earnest — it opened its third Beijing store on Saturday. The three-story glass palace on Wangfujing Street, the city’s most famous shopping destination, is Apple’s largest store in Asia.

The crowds that showed up for the free T-shirts didn’t require the SWAT-team treatment, but there was plenty of hoopla and pandemonium as the YouTube videos above and below will attest. For more photos from the launch, see M.I.C Gadget here. ¬†For a tour of the store before the crowds arrived, see the site’s photo gallery here.

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