We knew people in Asia were paying people in the US to line up for iPad 2s to ship overseas, but we didn't know it was this bad. The NY Post says more than half of the 400 people in line at 8 a.m. gave their iPads to a guy in a BMW X5 for cash.
So what's the deal? Each person got paid $100-$200 for two tablets each, and they were gathered up and shipped out to places like Hong Kong where they sell for twice the going rate here. If you negotiate a decent shipping strategy, that's a pretty large profit for one morning's line-standing. Sometimes, as the Post says, you can even sell it for three times the price here, since Apple has not rolled out the launch in other countries yet.
Apple has had a problem with people—especially Asian folks—lining up and exporting iPhones and iPads before. The problem is worse in NY, where Apple has larger stores and a bigger stock, coupled with a larger Asian community. Apple wanted to do something about this problem, but:
...the office of then-Attorney General Andrew Cuomo warned the company that holding Asian customers to a higher degree of scrutiny was illegal.