RIM's Indonesia chief could face prosecution over BlackBerry stampede

By Lee Kaelin on December 6, 2011, 11:30 AM

At the end of last month, Research in Motion chose Jakarta, Indonesia for the global launch of its new Blackberry Bold 9790 smartphone. The phone is wildly popular in the country, and thus thousands queued for their chance to be among the first to get their hands on the latest BlackBerry handset at a 50% discount.

Initially the first thousand to arrive were given red wristbands, but as the crowd grew impatient the company said everyone could have a phone. In a tragic turn of events, rumours started to circulate they had run out of phones and people started to lose their patience, resulting in thousands storming the security barriers as they tried to get their hands on the new phone.

The Jakarta Globe reported that approximately 90 people needed treating for a range of conditions, from fractured bones to unconsciousness. The Indonesian police subsequently launched an investigation and it has been confirmed that Andrew Cobham, director of RIM's Indonesia operations has been named as a suspect.

According to the BBC, he is one of four people named as suspects who could face charges of negligence leading to injury. Cobham is yet to be arrested, but has been ordered to remain in the country and it is believed he is required to attend the local police headquarters regularly. If found guilty the maximum penalty is nine months imprisonment. Terry Burki, who was hired by the BlackBerry maker as a security consultant has also been ordered to remain in the country pending further investigations.

The local police stated that RIM should have known the event would attract a large crowd, and placed considerable blame on the Canadian firm for changing the rules of the promotional event at the last minute. RIM was heavily criticized for not informing the entire crowd of the change, which resulted in a stampeding angry mob when people without the red wristband started receiving the phone.

The latest turn of events in Indonesia rounds off what has been an unsettling year for the phone manufacturer. Last week they announced they were writing off $485m in unsold PlayBook inventory, despite two big price cuts to move its reported 800,000 stock of unsold tablets. The company's first two quarters also saw a year-on-year decline of handset sales, although Q3 is expected to fare better due to the launch of several new handsets.




User Comments: 6

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Wendig0 Wendig0, TechSpot Paladin, said:

The local police stated that RIM should have known the event would attract a large crowd

Because we all know that all Canadians are clairvoyant... I've been to the police station in Jakarta, and the level corruption is astounding. Indonesian authorities are looking to extort RIM via fines which will line the police chief's, prosecutor's, and judge's pockets, nothing more.

If RIM pays out, watch this case disappear.

Burty117 Burty117, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

I'm still so confused by this story, Why is everyone so exited about getting a Blackberry? I mean? Really? I could understand if it was a revolutionary new phone that RIM at brought to market but its not? Just a boring standard one that is not any different from any model since 2008?

I mean... Really?

HaMsTeYr HaMsTeYr said:

Wendig0 said:

The local police stated that RIM should have known the event would attract a large crowd

Because we all know that all Canadians are clairvoyant... I've been to the police station in Jakarta, and the level corruption is astounding. Indonesian authorities are looking to extort RIM via fines which will line the police chief's, prosecutor's, and judge's pockets, nothing more.

If RIM pays out, watch this case disappear.

Actually, they should have been. Based on market trend and studies they should have known this very well. I'm not even from Indonesia and I know that Blackberry is just crazy big there, just like it is in Malaysia. A small market survey and study could have told them just as much.

It's more of a call of negligence in the end. Also I believe that they shouldn't have started changing the handout and sales policies.

Believe it or not, it was mostly RIM's fault to blame, I don't know if it has anything to do with the police whatsoever. Sure they're corrupt, but I see hardly any relevance to this current topic and subject. The topic at hand is them taking responsibility for the events that have occured.

And yes, it bewilders me as to why they're just so crazy big in these countries. I'd rather own a low end android phone any day.

Guest said:

RIM should learn "HOW TO BE SHAMELESS" with

BIRD OF THE SAME FEATHER

as law means "Lawlessness, Carelessness, and

Shamelessness !

Guest said:

"Actually, they should have been. Based on market trend and studies they should have known this very well. I'm not even from Indonesia and I know that Blackberry is just crazy big there, just like it is in Malaysia. A small market survey and study could have told them just as much.

It's more of a call of negligence in the end. Also I believe that they shouldn't have started changing the handout and sales policies.

Believe it or not, it was mostly RIM's fault to blame, I don't know if it has anything to do with the police whatsoever."

Large following or not, I don't think there is any way that RIM could have predicted a stampede of angry, violent Indonesians. The only reason those handout/sales policies were changed to begin with is that the turnout was far greater than anything they expected.

Guest said:

to Burty117

yes, Indonesian people very excited with Blackberry phone.. it's not about the model or design, it's Blackberry Messenger (we called it BBM), BBM offer us an exclusive way to communicate with other

In Indonesia, Blackberry (we called it BB) not just a luxurious item, it's also the latest trend, and the symbol that differs you from others in modern society.

all of ur friends, coworkers, clients, colleagues, etc demands you to have one.. ur career and business may stuck if you don't have one. And also in social life, if u dont have one, means you got left behind.. BBM change ur daily life here in Indonesia.

Most people in Indonesia have at least 2 mobile phones (sometimes 3), and one of it must be Blackberry

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