Designer Phones for the Police? Wary Officers Steer Clear

It was a common enough scene for Jakarta’s high-end malls: Two attractive young ladies working a counter displaying bespoke luxury cellphones and fountain pens.

Except that the sales staff, while from a shop at the Plaza Senayan mall, were not in the atrium of yet another shopping center. They were in the main meeting room at the National Police headquarters in South Jakarta.

“This is just an introductory event,” said one of them when asked by the Jakarta Globe about the unusual choice of location for a sales campaign.

But if any of the officers milling around on Monday were showing signs of interest, they didn’t let on.

Comr. Gen. Oegroseno, the National Police’s head of security, stopped briefly to look at the designer Vertu cellphones and Mont Blanc pens.

“What is this about?” he asked.

“Are these bootleg items? Chinese knockoffs?”

While one of the sales ladies assured him the goods were genuine, and even handed him the store’s business card, Oegroseno didn’t linger for long.

Asked later why he didn’t stop to ask the price, the three-star general gave a wry response.

“Whose money [would I buy it with]?” he said.

“If I bought it, that’d be the same as asking the KPK [Corruption Eradication Commission] to investigate me for [taking money] from Djoko Susilo.”

Djoko, a two-star general and former head of the police’s traffic division, is in the KPK’s custody on charges of taking a bribe to rig the awarding of a contract to procure driving simulators.

KPK investigators have since seized more than Rp 100 billion ($10.3 million) worth of real estate and vehicles from Djoko.

Back at the police headquarters, meanwhile, it remained unclear who had authorized, or why, a promotion shilling a Rp 184 million phone to officers making only around Rp 30 million a month at the most.