RIM executive suspect in Indonesia's BlackBerry stampede

Following a stampede during a promo event in November, RIM's Indonesian chief is suspected of negligence, and could face up to nine months in jail.
Written by Hana Stewart-Smith, Contributor

Research in Motion's chief executive in Indonesia, Andrew Cobham, has been named as a suspect in last month's BlackBerry promotion disaster, which left dozens injured and some requiring medical assistance.

More than 40 people were injured at the promotional event on November 25th, and 20 were knocked unconscious when the event turned into a stampede.

Indonesian police named three more suspects alongside Cobham on Monday, including British security consultant Terry Burkey. The four are being suspected of negligence and could face nine months in prison.

The stampede happened during a special promotional offer of the new BlackBerry Bold 9790, after RIM announced that they would be selling a thousand of the new phones for half the usual price.

At least five times that amount showed up for the event. Despite efforts to give bracelets to the first thousand arrivals, organisers were unable to control the crowd. In the end desperate fans surged the barriers, and around 300 police and security personnel were required to shut the event down.

A ministry spokesman, Gatot Dewa, said that the company had been warned that the event could be dangerous.

He said: "A company should not promote it's products without considering safety. We already knew how big this could be, considering Indonesia is one of BlackBerry's biggest markets".

RIM has had a lot of success with the BlackBerry in Indonesia, with 6 million users in the region making the smartphone the market leader.

Considering the annual mad crush we saw in America during Black Friday, it seems that companies should be taking precautions when organising their promotional events. When you're selling something as popular as the BlackBerry is in Indonesia, a huge amount of interest should be expected.


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