Police have confirmed that the top official representing Canada-based Research In Motion in Indonesia was named the fourth suspect over last month’s stampede at a BlackBerry smartphone event in a Jakarta mall.
Jakarta Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Baharuddin Djafar on Sunday identified the suspect as RIM Indonesia’s outgoing president director, Andrew Cobham. Baharudin said the decision to name Cobham came on Thursday.
Cobham, a Canadian and secretary of the American Chamber of Commerce in Indonesia, has not been arrested but is obliged to report to the Jakarta Police headquarters regularly.
“His violation [negligence resulting in injury] only carries a [maximum] nine months in prison so we didn’t arrest him,” he said.
On Nov. 25, at least 90 people fainted and three were injured as thousands of people broke through a barrier at Pacific Place mall to buy the latest BlackBerry, the Bold 9790, which was selling at a deep discount to the first 1,000 customers.
Baharuddin said that Cobham should have anticipated that the event would attract a huge crowd, and he criticized RIM officials for causing confusion by changing the rules during the event.
He said buyers were told they needed a red bracelet from the organizer to buy the phone, but that RIM officials decided to abandon that plan without adequately informing people. As a result, some members of the crowd were outraged when they saw people buying a phone without a bracelet.
South Jakarta Police have already named several other suspects for negligence, including the mall’s head of security, Markus; the event organizer, Erwin; and RIM security consultant Terry Burkey. The maximum sentence is nine months in jail.
RIM announced last month that Cobham was being reassigned and would be replaced by Rohilesh Singh, now RIM Indonesia’s managing director.
Police have also demoted Kebayoran Baru Police chief Comr. Hando Wibowo for issuing a permit for the event despite knowing that the proposal did not specify how big the expected crowd would be.
“The subdistrict police chief … didn’t take the necessary steps to control the situation,” Baharudin said.