Bromptons have got a pretty bad rep in Indonesia ever since the disgraced former boss of flag carrier Garuda Indonesia smuggled a couple of the premium folding bikes into the country to avoid paying import taxes on them.
Further Brompton controversy unfolded over the weekend when police in the East Java capital of Surabaya raided a bike store and confiscated five of the pricey folding bikes. According to the police, the bikes had not received the Indonesian National Standard (SNI) certification, which is required by law for certain manufactured goods, including bicycles.
Bicycles, as it were, were added to the SNI list in 2018, meaning that all bikes in circulation in Indonesia must have the SNI tag on them.
According to the Industry Law, distributors who violate SNI requirements may face up to five years in prison and a maximum fine of IDR3 billion (US$218,717).
It remains to be seen if the owners of the bike store would be charged with the aforementioned crime.
Brompton bikes have seen a surge in demand in Indonesia in recent years in conjunction with the rise in popularity of folding bikes in increasingly bike-friendly urban centers, including Jakarta. Tempo reported last year that in two years, Indonesians bought at least 5,000 Brompton bikes despite there not being an official store for the brand in the country — most of the folding bikes were bought in neighboring Singapore or imported straight from the UK.
Premium bike stores in Indonesia currently sell imported Brompton bikes at around IDR25 million-80 million, though the recent seizure of the folding bikes in Surabaya may affect domestic sales in the near future.