Merchants face jail terms in Indonesia for selling iPad

Two sellers on Indonesian website  have been “trapped” by a police officer from Polda Metro Jaya, Jakarta. The sellers, Dian and Randy, made an account on the site in order to purchase and sell an iPad. This iPad was purchased in Singapore as not many stores in Indonesia stock the Apple tablet.

Police officer, Eben Patar Opsunggu, bid for a 3G WiFi Notebook (64 GB) in November 2010 and soon made an appointment to meet with the seller. Following this, undercover cops launched an investigation into the case where they suspected that both sellers were violating laws.

Since May 3 this year, both sellers Dian and Randy have been detained in a prison in Jakarta. The two peddlers, who are soon to be publicly prosecuted, face two charges for selling the imported iPad – thrift, as it was bought in Singapore and does not contain a ‘manual in Indonesian language’, hence violating Article 62 Paragraph (1) in conjunction with Article 8 Paragraph (1) sub-paragraph J of Law no. 8/1999 on Consumer Protection; also, as the iPad does not include an official communication tool, the duo face a second charge of violating Article 52 in conjunction with Article 32 Paragraph (1) Act No. 36 of 1999 on Telecommunications – this merely means that the iPad has not been categorised as an electronic means of official communication in Indonesia.

Both sellers potentially face a maximum imprisonment sentence of 5 years.


There has been a huge Twitter response to this particular case. @deelestari, a leading writer in Indonesia, tweets: “police Officer, this is TOO much”; @jokoanwar tweeted: “Please, guys ..How come someone could going to jail just because that ipad don’t provide manual book in Indonesian language?” who has gone onto hashtag his tweet # FreeDianRandy.

In Indonesia, several thousands of iPads have been sold to various sections of the society. President Indonesia Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono can also boast of owning an iPad. Another government official who uses the Apple tablet is governor of North Sumatra, Gatot Pujo Nugroho.

Ismail Rahmad Batubara, an iPad user, says he is not afraid to use the tablet in Indonesia as gadgets such as these help professionals like him enormously in their work. As Dian and Randy face charges, one must pause to ask why the president of Indonesia and the governor of North Sumatra do not face jail sentences even though they access a gadget that is still considered as illegal in Indonesia?