Travelers Jailed For Fake Covid Test Results In Brussels

Travelers Jailed For Fake Covid Test Results In Brussels

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A COVID-19 test has become a pretty standard requirement for international travel. The reality is that a lot of people fake these tests results, since it can often be hard to verify their authenticity anyway. It’s interesting to see how different parts of the world deal with this, though…

Man faces one year jail sentence for fake test

The Brussels Times has the story of how in recent months, roughly 820 people have been caught with fake coronavirus tests at Brussels Airport (BRU). The standard punishment for this is a fine of €750, and roughly 80% of people caught have paid that. The remaining 20% (roughly 160 people) are being taken to court by the public prosecutor.

So far 16 people have been charged, and the results have been as follows:

  • 11 people didn’t show up to court, and have been sentenced to six months in prison plus a €1,600 fine for forgery
  • Another person didn’t show up, but received a one year prison sentence in addition to the fine, because he was infected with coronavirus when he presented his fake test result
  • One person who did show up but maintained her innocence was sentenced to six months in prison plus an €800 fine
  • The three other people who showed up were given their choice of 60 hours of community service or a one year prison sentence (what a choice!)
Brussels is cracking down on travelers with fake tests

What the court had to say in its judgment

As part of the judgment, the court issued the following statement:

“There are few textbook examples of such unrestrained selfish behaviour. The defendants willfully endanger society by placing their own freedom to travel above the public interest, and particularly above the freedom of everyone to live. For citizens who are not concerned with the welfare of their fellow citizens, the court’s opinion is that severe punishment is the only appropriate social response to make them aware of the inadmissible nature of their actions.”

The court also claimed that international air travel is “the perfect tool” for continuing to spread the virus on a large scale. That seems like a questionable stance, but we don’t really need to get into that…

The court thinks severe punishment is the only option

Bottom line

Belgium seems to be among the strictest countries in Europe when it comes to going after those who present fake coronavirus test results for travel. Over 800 people have been caught with fake test results at Brussels Airport, and the standard punishment is a €750 fine.

However, those who didn’t pay that are being prosecuted, and are facing a fine and jail sentence. One man who was infected with coronavirus at the time he presented the fake test is even facing a year-long jail sentence.

This is a good reminder to not fake your coronavirus test results, not that a reminder should really be needed…

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  1. Seriously? Guest

    So pass a fake COVID test = 6 months to 1 year. Assault the US House in an attempt to stop the transfer of power, 2, 3 4 months.

    1. SoSong Guest

      Way to be so predictably American centric…. This has nothing to do with your country! Did you even read the article?

  2. Ryan Guest

    I would never do this to get into a country other than my own, but if I thought I could get away with it, I would have no hesitation doing so to get back to the United States, but only in a very particular circumstance: when I'm on business travel and need to delay my flight home by a day and, as such, my prior test would be out of date and I have no...

    I would never do this to get into a country other than my own, but if I thought I could get away with it, I would have no hesitation doing so to get back to the United States, but only in a very particular circumstance: when I'm on business travel and need to delay my flight home by a day and, as such, my prior test would be out of date and I have no time to get another one. No way am I staying an extra day just to get tested. Thankfully, there is a country, which I won't name, that issues their test results as an editable PDF and the QR code, which, when scanned, only shows the name of the person tested.

  3. RF Guest

    This is the correct response and more places need to do this.

  4. Alex Guest

    “The defendants willfully endanger society by placing their own freedom to travel above the public interest, and particularly above the freedom of everyone to live.” -Yes! If only our Supreme Court would express the same position for travel to and within the US.

    1. Dillyboi Guest

      What’s with the slight on the US Supreme Court? Forging an inbound Covid test is against the law with penalties that are not disputed in pending litigation in front of the SCOTUS and there is no requirement for such test for internal travel. There needs to be a dispute in the lower courts before anything gets up to the Supreme Court…. Such as what is working its way this week with the vax mandates. Do you not know how your system of government works?

    2. Eskimo Guest

      One could assume that if SCOTUS would make such position that @Alex hoped, SCOTUS would have approved Brandon's mandate.

    3. Dillyboi Guest

      Eskimo,

      That case is ongoing and we will know next week. Again first there needs to be a dispute, then appeals then it would be adjudicated on the particulars of the case. For example I suspect the SC will strike down the business mandate next week however uphold the federal government/contractor mandates and they will uphold ALL state and local government mandates… each case is different and the federal government and state governments have different...

      Eskimo,

      That case is ongoing and we will know next week. Again first there needs to be a dispute, then appeals then it would be adjudicated on the particulars of the case. For example I suspect the SC will strike down the business mandate next week however uphold the federal government/contractor mandates and they will uphold ALL state and local government mandates… each case is different and the federal government and state governments have different powers and jurisdictions. It’s not a one size fits all ruling when they come down either. There are many nuances in all of this that the OP doesn’t seem appreciate. The court does not just take a side on an issue for fun without a legal challenge even submitted.

    4. Alex Guest

      Let’s Go @eskimo and please enlighten everyone who this “Brandon” is you speak of. I am not aware of anyone with that name who is in control of vaccine mandates.

    5. Alex Guest

      @Dillyboi wow, you totally missed the point that I was making.

    6. Dillyboi Guest

      Alex

      I get your point and I agree with it…. Just has nothing to do with the Supreme Court in the US (at this point in time)

  5. maccymac Guest

    "The court also claimed that international air travel is “the perfect tool” for continuing to spread the virus on a large scale. That seems like a questionable stance..."

    Because as we all know, the COVID-19 virus swam to Belgium.

  6. Stephen Guest

    Who cares? People fly with fake tests all of the time. Does anyone even actually get tested anymore?

    1. Chris_ Member

      Yes, most people do get tested as they are required to.

    2. Evelina Guest

      Maybe you don’t because you are very naive and selfish but most people do, including me, last year alone I did a total of 22 PCR test and around a dozen antigen, throughout all my journey and I don’t mind a bit, as long as it protects the people around me

      And fyi, do try your fake test stunt in Asian and Middle East countries, those people are serious unlike you, and please do let us know from inside the Court/prison how it is going

    3. Dan77W Guest

      Just because he doesn’t get tested because perhaps where he lives doesn’t require it to travel doesn’t mean he’s selfish! Perhaps testing is hard to come by in his country, did you ever think you might be overdoing it? Do you know for all these containment efforts and testing requirements me as aircrew are let in most countries with few if any restrictions untested and eat at that restaurant or stay in that same hotel you do?

    4. Evelina Guest

      I don’t know which airline you work for, but I work for a major European airline and I can more then assure you, there are regular testing for our aircrew every fortnight and most crew on long haul routes are tested. So you can’t discount and label every airline’s CR as same.

      Also at this point, it will be a very bad excuse to say testing is hard to come by in 2022, since the...

      I don’t know which airline you work for, but I work for a major European airline and I can more then assure you, there are regular testing for our aircrew every fortnight and most crew on long haul routes are tested. So you can’t discount and label every airline’s CR as same.

      Also at this point, it will be a very bad excuse to say testing is hard to come by in 2022, since the supply of the testing equipments are in excess, just few weeks ago I was in Lagos and you will even come across testing centres quite easily at almost every hospital and even at airport. Besides almost every major international airport has a testing centre at the terminal which provides express PCR testing

      Point is, the OP is saying people fly with fake test and excuses the fact of people taking test, which is quite a wrong and naive assumption. Besides, for example pax from India and Russia on our flights are required to show PCR test with QR code, that links to an online database so it is difficult to come across fake test

  7. Fredje Guest

    Belgian here... As most will probably not know our laws and juridical system. These people will never go to prison, they have to go one year to prison (or six months) in case they break the law again (for a major crime, not speeding...) within a predefined period (probably 2 or 5 years).

    1. Andy Guest

      True. However, also such sentences with a probation period are reflected in the criminal record. This might be an issue, if you apply for certain jobs (e.g. banking, public administration).

  8. Ryan Guest

    Fraud and forgery shouldn’t be condoned but it’s understandable that someone would do this. Getting tested can be difficult and the rules are constantly (and often arbitrarily) changing. And then there’s the risk of getting stuck somewhere and trapped in a bureaucratic nightmare if things go wrong, even if you aren’t sick or experiencing any symptoms.

    I realize these cases are in the past, but I also question the value of these tests at all...

    Fraud and forgery shouldn’t be condoned but it’s understandable that someone would do this. Getting tested can be difficult and the rules are constantly (and often arbitrarily) changing. And then there’s the risk of getting stuck somewhere and trapped in a bureaucratic nightmare if things go wrong, even if you aren’t sick or experiencing any symptoms.

    I realize these cases are in the past, but I also question the value of these tests at all anymore especially in places like Europe that already have very high case counts. The UK acknowledged yesterday that testing serves no real purpose now that the virus is already spreading so rapidly in England. As we get to a new phase of the pandemic where variants are milder and there is more immunity, I think it’s time to re-examine the utility of these tests and associated regulations.

  9. Max Guest

    Serves them right. These rules are in place to allow for a balance between protection of the community and the freedom of the individual, so to break them is to endanger the community and to put everyones freedom at risk to travel even under pandemic conditions.
    Belgium should consider adding the loss of residency rights to repeat offenders who are not Belgian / EU citizens and have been prosecuted for faking test results...that may be a useful deterrend as well...`

  10. david Guest

    @Lauren: If you choose not to travel during a pandemic, that of course is your right. It's also my right to choose to travel if I so wish, after taking appropriate precautions and following the rules of the country I am visiting.

    We can't just close the world down for 3-4 years until this pandemic is over. That would do more damage than a pandemic.

  11. Lauren Marsh Guest

    How about a reminder that no one should be traveling pointlessly during a pandemic? Seems like that would be the better message.

    1. Sean M. Diamond

      We are two years into the pandemic now and have pretty much established that you can travel safely with the appropriate protocols in place. These are essentially a combination of vaccination and pre/post flight testing. In almost every situation, these protocols will reduce risk of transmission below that of community transmission. The problem is when various governments, for domestic political reasons mainly, deviate from what the science tells them - or when citizens seek to...

      We are two years into the pandemic now and have pretty much established that you can travel safely with the appropriate protocols in place. These are essentially a combination of vaccination and pre/post flight testing. In almost every situation, these protocols will reduce risk of transmission below that of community transmission. The problem is when various governments, for domestic political reasons mainly, deviate from what the science tells them - or when citizens seek to circumvent the protocols in place for their own (collective) protection.

      Restricting travel beyond implementing adequate protocols is not just unnecessary but also counterproductive.

    2. Dillyboi Guest

      Lauren,

      It’s been 2 years, Governments have taken their shot at this yet there’s no stopping this virus or even slowing it down…. Go travel!

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Max Guest

Serves them right. These rules are in place to allow for a balance between protection of the community and the freedom of the individual, so to break them is to endanger the community and to put everyones freedom at risk to travel even under pandemic conditions. Belgium should consider adding the loss of residency rights to repeat offenders who are not Belgian / EU citizens and have been prosecuted for faking test results...that may be a useful deterrend as well...`

8
Chris_ Member

Yes, most people do get tested as they are required to.

6
maccymac Guest

"The court also claimed that international air travel is “the perfect tool” for continuing to spread the virus on a large scale. That seems like a questionable stance..." Because as we all know, the COVID-19 virus swam to Belgium.

5
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