Cyclists in Surabaya, East Java, have been concerned in recent weeks following reports of local police confiscating Brompton folding bicycles claiming they lacked the required Indonesia National Standard (SNI) certificate.
Members of several biking communities in the region expressed their worries about the latest development, saying that they were afraid to take their Brompton bikes out for a ride over fears the bicycles would be seized by the police.
“We’d like to know more about the SNI [policy], specifically which party is subject to it. [The report of confiscation] has honestly unnerved us,” Rachmat Septiarto of the Folks.id biking community in Surabaya told The Jakarta Post on Monday.
Many biking enthusiasts in Surabaya have purchased imported bicycles from local resellers, while others personally bought the bikes during overseas trips and brought them on their return flights to Indonesia.
Rachmat said fellow biking enthusiasts who owned imported premium bicycles such as British-made Brompton folding bicycles had discussed the issue on WhatsApp, informing each other of the latest news regarding the confiscation.
“Some even said they wouldn’t dare bring their [imported] bicycles to any workshop for repairs, as they would risk giving their bikes away to the police,” said Rachmat, who owns a number of imported premium folding bicycles, including a Brompton.
Last week, media outlet Detik reported that Surabaya Police had confiscated five Brompton bicycles from a bike store in the city, arguing that the pricey folding bikes in the store had not obtained SNI certification in accordance with regulations.
A 2018 Industry Ministerial Regulation requires all bicycles in circulation in Indonesia, both imported ones and those produced in the country, to be SNI-certified.
Distributors who violate the SNI requirements can face up to five years in prison according to Article 120 of the 2014 Industry Law.
At the time of writing, it is still unclear whether the bike store's owner in Surabaya would be charged with such a crime.
Surabaya Police crime division head Adj. Sr. Comr. Sudamiran was not immediately available for comment when contacted by the Post.
Although Brompton has yet to open an official store in Indonesia, demands for the premium bikes – with prices ranging from Rp 30 million (US$2,183) to Rp 80 million – have been on the rise in the country, along with the rising popularity of folding bikes.
The London-based company sold about 5,000 Brompton bikes to Indonesian consumers over the past three years, tempo.co reported.
Edi Priyanto, a member of the Port Sally Club biking community in Surabaya, called on the government to be more active in disseminating official information regarding the certification policy and procedures.
“[Brompton bicycles] are considered premium goods in their country of origin. How come they don’t meet SNI requirements?” Edi said.
“If such a policy were indeed in place, customs officials would prohibit the imported bikes from entering the country in the first place. But that is not the case. Those who purchased premium bikes such as Brompton paid the mandatory excise taxes as usual.”
He went on to say that the lack of information regarding the issue contradicted the government’s endorsement of bicycles as an alternative, environmentally friendly transportation mode amid increased pollution.
Janurwendo, the head of Customs and Excise’s subdivision of imported goods, said SNI supervision on imports was done post-border – after the goods in question entered the country – in accordance with Trade Ministerial Decree No. 12/2018.
“The SNI certificate is not only given to the goods but also to the parties or companies that imported the goods,” he told the Post. (rfa)