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RIM exec in Indonesia under scrutiny over BlackBerry stampede

December 5, 2011 |  1:57 pm

BlackBerry Indonesia

The head of Research In Motion's Indonesia division is reportedly under investigation after a stampede of consumers broke out at a launch event for a BlackBerry smartphone last month.

Police in Indonesia told Reuters that about 5,000 people were on hand to buy a new BlackBerry phone on Nov. 25 in Jakarta. As customers rushed forward to see and purchase the new phone, "dozens passed out in the crush," Reuters said in a report about the incident.

Now, authorities there are saying that Andrew Cobham, RIM's Indonesia chief executive, is suspected of being responsible for the event getting out of hand, Reuters said.

Officials at RIM were unavailable on Monday to comment on the report.

"Police also named a security consultant hired by RIM, an event organizer and a manager of the sale's shopping center venue, as suspects who are likely to be charged," Reuters said.

The launch event generated an overnight line of more than 1,000 consumers and the main attraction was a 50% discount on the phone for the first 1,000 people to make a purchase, the report said.

Cobham hasn't been arrested, but he "has been banned from traveling overseas. He must go through the legal process here," Jakarta Police investigator Budi Irawan told Reuters.

If charged and found guilty of negligence, Cobham could face a maximum penalty of nine months in jail, the report said.

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-- Nathan Olivarez-Giles

Nathan Olivarez-Giles on Google+

Twitter.com/nateog

Photo: A screen shot of ID.BlackBerry.com, Research In Motion's Indonesian websites. Credit: RIM

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