Stiffer sentences for those caught travelling with fake coronavirus test result certificates

The Judicial Authorities plan to get tough on travellers caught with fake coronavirus test result certificates. In just one week at Zaventem airport, near Brussels, 58 people were caught with fake test certificates showing negative results. In future, anyone with a bogus test certificate will have to appear before a judge and will risk a prison sentence of up to 5 years and a fine of 2,000 euro. In some cases, 750 euro on the spot fines will be issued. 

During the past week 58 people were caught with false negative test certificates at Zaventem. They were mainly people resident in Belgium that wished to travel abroad. This is a relatively small number, given that last week 29,000 people travelled on flights from the airport. Nevertheless, the Halle-Vilvoorde Public Prosecutor Ine Van Wymersch says that this is still “58 too many”.

Now the possibilities for travel between countries is increasing the Judicial Authorities here intend to clamp down on corona test cheats. Speaking on VRT Radio 1’s morning news and current affairs programme ‘De ochtend’, Ms Van Wymeersch said that those caught with a false test result certificate will not be allowed to travel and that new guidelines means that they will also have to appear in front of a criminal court on charges of forgery and using a forged document”.

As well as risking a fine and a custodial sentence of up to 5 years those convicted will also have a criminal record. 

On the spot fines at the airport

Judicial Authorities can opt to issue 750-euro on the spot fines. In this case only those refusing to pay up will have to appear in court. The Halle-Vilvoorde Judicial Authorities (whose area includes the airport) intend to do this. 

The chance to settle out of court with an on-the-spot fine will be offered to residents of Belgium and non-residents alike. Foreign residents that refuse to pay up straight away will, like those resident in Belgium, be issued with court summons.

The same penalties apply to those that have deliberately wrongly filled in a passenger locator form, be it on paper or in digital form. 

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