Hidden cameras and whispered answers, police shut down two driving schools for fraud
Thursday, 18 March 2021
60% of Brussels candidates failed their driving test in 2018. Credit: Pixabay.
A 17-year-old Belgian looking to get their driving licence must first answer 50 multiple choice questions about real life traffic situations. Known as the theoretical exam, it’s the first step to getting on the road and requires a fair amount of studying on things like street signage, parking rules, and speed limits.
Or, you could just cheat.
Two driving schools in Antwerp have been closed by police because it looks as though they were helping new drivers do exactly that, using a complicated system of hidden cameras and secret communication devices, according to Belga news agency.
Clients would pay between €1,000 and €1,500 for the deluxe cheating services, which allowed them to bring a hidden camera to the exam and have the correct answers to the multiple choice questions whispered into their ear via a listening device.
After police were tipped off about the operation in February, this week they raided five homes in the Deurne district of Antwerp with police dogs and arrested three women and one man.
Police found over €15,000 in cash, 14 mobile phones, 10 laptops, 5 computers, and 11 items of clothing with hidden cameras and transmitters attached.
People involved in the elaborate cheating service are thought to be two managers and two employees at the driving schools in question.
While the amount of money people paid for a guaranteed passing result on the theoretical exam may seem high, the stakes for failing can be similarly expensive. After failing twice, a person is required to take a 12 hour course from an approved driving school, which can be costly.
After providing proof they’ve passed that course, the hopeful driver must take the theoretical exam a third time.
Police say they’re taking this test fraud seriously because the customers who cheated “were given the opportunity to make the Antwerp streets unsafe by driving a car without any preparation.”