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Jakarta Post

Bali Police arrest seven for allegedly selling COVID-19 travel permits at Gilimanuk Port

  • Ni Komang Erviani

    The Jakarta Post

Denpasar   /   Sat, May 16, 2020   /   01:37 pm
Bali Police arrest seven for allegedly selling COVID-19 travel permits at Gilimanuk Port Police officers present evidence for alleged COVID-19 travel certificates sold to travelers at Gilimanuk Port in Bali, at Bali Police headquarters in Denpasar on Friday. Police have arrested seven suspects of two groups that allegedly ran such schemes. (Photo Courtesy of Bali Police/File)

Bali Police have arrested seven people of two alleged syndicates selling fake health certificates to people wishing to travel during the COVID-19 outbreak, in violation of the mudik (exodus) travel ban.

The suspects include four ojek (motorcycle taxi) drivers, two travel agency employees and a man who runs a printing business. They were reportedly nabbed red-handed while selling such documents to travelers at Gilimanuk Port, which connects Bali to Java, in two separate arrests on Thursday.

Read also: COVID-19-free hospital letters offered on e-commerce platforms

The groups allegedly offered the letters to people who wanted to travel amid the imposed mudik ban, Bali Police spokesman Sr. Cmr. Syamsi said. Travelers planning to travel by ferry to Java are required to present a health document that includes the letterhead and signature of a general practitioner and the community health center (Puskesmas).

“The suspects have taken advantage of the mudik ban by offering fake health certificates and selling them to ferry passengers at Gilimanuk Port,” Syamsi said in a statement on Friday.

He further said that the seven suspects were from two different groups.

The first group comprised of three suspects who were arrested at 00:30 a.m. on Thursday: minibus driver Ferdinand Marianus Nahak, travel agent employee Putu Bagus Setya Pratama and printing business owner Surya Hadi Wira Pratama.

Syamsi said Ferdinand had been arrested while distributing the fake certificates to his passengers. He allegedly received the documents from Putu, and it was later found that they had been created by Surya.

The suspects’ accounts reportedly revealed that Putu brought the form to Surya for editing. Surya then allegedly offered another letter that he had created, made several copies and handed it over to Ferdinand to be sold at Rp 25,000 (US$1.68) per piece, in which Surya allegedly claimed Rp 1,000 for each letter sold.

Ferdinand had put his signature on the fake health documents, Syamsi said.

Read also: New regulation allows businesspeople, officials to travel despite ‘mudik’ ban

Besides selling the certificates to minibus passengers, the group also allegedly sold them to motorists for Rp 100,000 apiece.

Police said they had confiscated five fake and signed certificates from the suspects, Rp 200,000 in cash, six letter forms that had not been signed, two mobile phones, one computer and one printing machine.

Syamsi added that the second group was arrested at 2 p.m. of the same day near the seaport. Investigators arrested four ojek drivers identified as Widodo, Ivan Aditya, Roni Firmansyah and Putu Endra Ariawan.

The group had allegedly sold fake health letters to ferry passengers at Gilimanuk Port at prices ranging from Rp 25,000 to Rp 100,000.

Syamsi said all suspects had been charged under articles 263 and 268 of the Criminal Code on document forgery and medical letter forgery, violations of which are punishable by up to six years of imprisonment.