Crush breaks out at Indonesian BlackBerry event

Nov 25, 2011

An offer of discounted BlackBerry smart phones turned into a frenzy Friday when thousands of Indonesians stormed the outlet, causing a crush in which at least three people were injured and some fainted.

Around 300 police and paramilitary officers were deployed outside the Pacific Place mall in central Jakarta after the promotion turned into mayhem, in a country that is BlackBerry's biggest market outside North America.

BlackBerry makers (RIM) had announced a week earlier that their new BlackBerry Bold 9790 would be launched Friday at half price for the first 1,000 people.

But 5,000 BlackBerry fans gathered in the heat outside the mall for a chance to grab the latest model at the cut-rate price of 2.3 million rupiah ($260).

Some had been queuing since a day earlier, police said.

"It turned chaotic around midday as thousands of people started pushing each other to get closer to the mall," Jakarta police spokesman Baharudin Djafar told AFP.

"There was more harm being done than good, so we immediately asked the organisers to stop the event," he said.

Sherly, 32, who had been waiting since early Friday morning, was one of several who fainted as she got caught in the crush.

"The mass just went crazy and began pushing each other. It was really scary, I was squeezed by the crowd until I lost consciousness," the Jakarta Globe news website quoted her as saying.

A member told AFP that three people were being treated for injuries, including broken bones.

Police said some people had been paid around $50 to queue up for others.

BlackBerrys are hugely popular among Indonesians, and annual imports of the are expected to reach four million by the year end, according to RIM.

The company said it decided to close the event for safety reasons.

"Throughout the promotion at Pacific Place, worked with the to prioritise the safety of our customers who amassed at the consumer launch," it said in a statement.

"With the larger attendance of fans at Pacific Place, it was decided to close the event to avoid discomfort and ensure the safety of those in the crowd," it added.

Police said they would question the organisers.

"The organisers should have given us some input about how many people they expected to come so that we could have enough officers to maintain security," Djafar said.

"We will question the organisers," he said.

Explore further: Voice, image give clues in hunt for Foley's killer

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

RIM rules out battery flaw with Blackberry Bold

Feb 28, 2009

Canada's Research In Motion said Friday it has ruled out faulty batteries as the likely cause of keyboards heating up during recharging of its BlackBerry Bold smart phones sold in Japan.

BlackBerry Bold sales suspended in Japan

Feb 27, 2009

Japanese mobile phone operator NTT DoCoMo said it suspended domestic sales Friday of the smart phone BlackBerry Bold after about 30 users reported the keyboards heated up during recharging.

RIM announces new BlackBerry Bold

May 02, 2011

Research In Motion Ltd. on Monday showed off a new version of one of its high-end BlackBerrys, updating the Bold with a touch screen and fresh software.

Saudi BlackBerrys still online as 'talks progress'

Aug 07, 2010

BlackBerry users in Saudi Arabia said messaging services remained online on Saturday despite a ban, as a mobile phone company reported progress in talks with the smartphone's Canadian makers.

Recommended for you

Voice, image give clues in hunt for Foley's killer

10 hours ago

Police and intelligence services are using image analysis and voice-recognition software, studying social media postings and seeking human tips as they scramble to identify the militant recorded on a video ...

Smartphone-loss anxiety disorder

10 hours ago

The smart phone has changed our behavior, sometimes for the better as we are now able to connect and engage with many more people than ever before, sometimes for the worse in that we may have become over-reliant on the connectivity ...

Why conspiracy theorists won't give up on MH17 and MH370

Aug 20, 2014

A huge criminal investigation is underway in the Netherlands, following the downing of flight MH17. Ten Dutch prosecutors and 200 policemen are involved in collecting evidence to present at the International Criminal Court in the Hague. The inv ...

Here's how you find out who shot down MH17

Aug 20, 2014

More than a month has passed since Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crashed with the loss of all 298 lives on board. But despite the disturbances at the crash site near the small town of Grabovo, near Donetsk ...

Assange talks of leaving embassy, sowing confusion

Aug 18, 2014

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange sowed confusion Monday with an announcement that appeared to indicate he was leaving his embassy bolt hole, but his spokesman later clarified that that would not happen unless ...

User comments : 0