A passenger fills in medical document upon arrival at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Tangerang, Banten. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)

Indonesian Police Uncover Covid-19 Test Forgery Ring


JANUARY 18, 2021

Jakarta. The Indonesian Police have identified at least 15 suspects charged with falsifying Covid-19 test results at the country's biggest airport and taking illegal payment from the crime, a spokesman said on Monday.

Preliminary investigation indicates that the criminal ring involved insiders.

The forgery ring sold falsified negative Covid-19 test result to air passengers for Rp 1.1 million ($78) per document.

"They have forged medical documents stating negative swab test results from various health institutions, taking advantage from the existing regulation that obliges plane passengers to produce such a document,” Jakarta Police spokesman Chief Commissioner Yusri Yunus told reporters.

The ring operated at the domestic departure terminal of Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Tangerang, Banten, he said

Nine suspects aged between 21 and 54 have been arrested in separate raids.

The suspected ring leader is identified by initials M.H.J., 52, who Yusri said is a former airport security guard. M.H.J actively approached passengers and asked if they needed the Covid free document without having to undergo the actual diagnostic test, Yusri said.

Two other suspects identified as M, 54, and ZAP, 22, acted as middlemen who collected personal data of lured passengers for the false documents.

The man who produced fake documents is identified as DS, 25, a former volunteer who verified travel documents at the airport.

He got help from an insider, identified as U, 22. The latter is an employee of a company being hired to conduct rapid screening for coronavirus at the airport. 

He was in possession of the PDF template for Covid-19 test document, the officer said.

The sixth suspect is identified as AA, 32, a volunteer at the airport health office who let ring members use his office to produce the fake documents.

Three other suspects in custody had a role of delivering the fake documents to passengers. Two of them are volunteers at the airport health office, Yusri said.

According to preliminary investigation, the document forgery ring has produced at least 28 fake documents since late December, according to polise report.

All the suspects have been charged for violating laws on health quarantine and the prevention of infectious disease, Yusri said.

They could face up to six years in prison if convicted.