Travelers Arrested For Attempted $3,000 Hawaii Entry Bribe

Filed Under: Travel

While we’ve seen all kinds of incidents of travelers trying to skip Hawaii’s testing or quarantine requirements, this is a new one for me

Hawaii visitors offer $3,000 entry bribe

Two visitors were arrested last Friday at the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL) in Hawaii, as they’re accused of trying to bribe airport screeners to allow them to bypass travel restrictions.

According to reports from Hawaii’s Department of Public Safety, two visitors arrived in Hawaii without valid COVID-19 test results, meaning they’d have to quarantine. They didn’t want to do that, though, so they tried to bribe airport screeners.

A 29-year-old man from Simmesport, Louisiana offered screeners $2,000, while a 28-year-old woman from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, offered to throw in an extra $1,000.

Airport screeners alerted the police, who arrested them both for bribery. They were booked and released immediately, and flew back to the mainland. The attorney general is continuing to investigate the incident.

I mean, I guess on some level they at least deserve some credit for not agreeing to quarantine and then skipping it, as some others have done? And at least they weren’t that couple that knowingly flew to Hawaii with coronavirus.

Two travelers tried to skip Hawaii’s quarantine requirement

Hawaii actually enforces its travel policies

While several US states technically have travel quarantine and testing requirements, they’re overwhelmingly not enforced. The exception is Hawaii.

Travelers to Hawaii either need to have a negative coronavirus test result taken within 72 hours of travel, or need to quarantine for a 10-day period (or the duration of their trip, whichever is shorter).

This all needs to be submitted prior to travel, making it easier for state officials to track travelers. In other words, travelers can submit their test results prior to travel, or otherwise need to state their intention to quarantine, as well as where they plan on doing so.

For example, the state also reports that last Friday a 44-year-old from Michigan was arrested for violating quarantine rules. Authorities were alerted by a Waikiki hotel that the man had never shown up, even though the hotel was listed as his designated place of quarantine. Instead he checked into another hotel, hoping that would allow him to circumvent the quarantine rules.

The man ended up being tracked down and arrested, with his bail set at $2,000.

Another traveler tried to skip the quarantine by staying at a different hotel

Bottom line

Hawaii continues to be the US state that most consistently enforces its testing and quarantine requirements. This particular case sure is puzzling to me:

  • Getting tested within 72 hours of travel really isn’t that complicated, and airlines have even partnered with labs to offer at-home pre-travel testing kits
  • These two travelers tried to offer a bribe of $3,000 to be allowed into the state without having to quarantine; not only is that a lot of money, but at that point I’m kind of surprised they wouldn’t just try to skip the quarantine altogether

Kudos to Hawaii for actually enforcing its travel policies, unlike so many other states.

  1. Amazing how many people think the rules don’t apply to them. Should have put them in jail for the week then sent them home pending covid test results.

  2. Lock ’em up and throw away the key. Lifetime ban on everything.

    It’s not complicated. Unless people are punished — and harshly — a-holes will continue acting this way. People behave like shitheads because they expect no consequences. Need to change that perception, and that’s going to take a big shift and a concerted effort.

    Zero tolerance until the message starts to sink in. Make it hurt enough, and people will eventually notice.

  3. I travel there (almost monthly these days) to live/work.
    It’s super easy to navigate their Covid state-entry system.
    The toughest part is getting a pre-travel test but it’s not impossible.
    Hawaiian Airlines actually has their own system set-up for their passengers which is quick and cheap. I’ve used it twice, as well as the Costco/Azova remote monitoring test.
    3 grand is literally 30 times the price of the Hawaiian Airlines test which is $90 bucks, plus you don’t go to jail.

  4. “Getting tested within 72 hours of travel really isn’t that complicated, and airlines have even partnered with labs to offer at-home pre-travel testing kits”

    – Have you try getting such a PCR test yourself from a qualified provider? It wasn’t that easy it least back in Dec as mail-in tests were not always reliable in terms of meeting the deadline. Several providers in CA had disclaimers that they would not guarantee results in 72 hrs. Walgreens actually lost the test for my wife and she spent 2+ hrs on the phone to sort this out (the test was finally found).

  5. I can’t speak to CA, but the expreschek JFK test was super quick. I drove there on my lunch break got a quick swab and knew the results within 15min. They give you a Hawaii formatted negative result in paper form and PDF file so you can immediately upload to the Hawaii portal.
    $200 expensive but beats what these guys did.

  6. I don’t condone but I don’t get limiting covid testing to only trusted partners. Unfortunately, many states have very limited trusted partners snd no ability for airport or airline testing. Neither DTW nor DL offers this.

  7. As a Kupuna (senior) in the State of Hawaii, please can our Government Officials explain how people are boarding flights and exposing those who followed the rules to COVID 19 “being allowed to board any flights” Period?????

  8. There will always be people trying to slide past rules. Good luck with that traveling to Hawaii because the hotels, as well as the residence will turn you in for trying to skip out on quarantine. Good on Hawaii!

  9. They may have been exposed and known it. The test requirement is too easy to feel you have to bribe your way around unless you think you might fail the test.

    No sympathy here!!

  10. We have a home in Georgia and a home in Maui with a construction company.
    We fly to and from every 2 weeks. What is the use of the pre-covid test if your on a plane with people who haven’t been tested and who have to quarantined for 10 days? The residents of Hawaii are so afraid of tourists bringing in the virus well the tourists aren’t the problem its the government. Just dumbfounded by this.

    A weird thing also Hawaii does at DFW we have to show our id at the gate before boarding. Doesn’t make sense. They say its a Hawaii law but you can’t get through security without proper id??

    I applaud keeping the virus away but they shouldn’t allow anyway who haven’t been tested on. Just dumbfounded by this. While they’re checking id’s at the gate they should demand to see their negative test results.

  11. @Ole: It makes it easier for the health reviewers to verify that the results are from a valid test, since all of the trusted testing partners have agreed to submit results on a standardized form. Only certain types of tests are accepted, and limiting testing to a few partners who are known to provide those tests and who agree to provide results in the standardized format makes it much easier to process than trying to sort through forms from every pharmacy, clinic or other testing provider in the country, which in turn would make falsification much easier.

    I agree the state should be working harder to expand its list of testing partners, though since so many locals are already wary of any visitors in the first place, making it easier to visit is a tough sell politically.

  12. Lock em all up just like the politicians who have been busted breaking the rules. Newsome and Cuomo both should be in a dark hole also then. Else it’s rules for thee but not for me.

  13. @Dick Bupkiss Agreed! But people then come back about real consequences and punishments with “my rights, rabble rabble rabble, they’re being inhumane, rabble rabble rabble, they’re not compassionate, rabble rabble rabble, too harsh, rabble rabble rabble, cruel, rabble rabble rabble, people need second/third/(infinite) chances.” You know… They way it is nowadays that everyone thinks they deserve a pass on everything.

  14. The thing about people claiming ‘rights’ is they forget other people also have the same rights. This means conflict unless all rights holders accept ‘RESPONSIBILITIES’ which are never mentioned.

    For those who claim these do not apply to them think about obeying traffic rules, paying your income tax, sending your kids to educational facilities, not killing too many innocent people, etc. We are all forced to accept limits on our activies.

    As to penalties the most effective way is by financial penalty. If a speeding fine was an automatic minimum $1500 there would probably be fewer speeders. Also saving in lives, hospital and medical costs and lifetime misery for the survivors and families. No jail time which is expensive to the community but just a lifetime paying off the debts. Also surrender of passport so offenders cannot skip the country.

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