Police have vowed to hunt down more than 600 people who allegedly bought fake Covid exemptions from a woman accused of posing as a doctor.
Police are zeroing in on hundreds of Australians who are believed to have paid $150 for fake Covid exemptions.
Queensland woman Maria Pau – who also went by Dr Maria Power – has been charged with pretending to be a doctor and issuing clients false medical exemption certificates for Covid vaccinations and face masks.
The Gold Coast woman’s clients are believed to include Queensland Health staff and Victorian CFMEU members.
However, Ms Pau, 45, is not a medical doctor, and is not registered with either the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) or Medicare.
Now, police are focusing their attention to those who knowingly tried to beat the system by purchasing the fake certificates.
Queensland Deputy Police Commissioner Steve Gollschewski told Sunrise this morning police were concerned by the incident, and that it was possible there were others out there doing the same thing.
“It is hard to say how many people may be doing this. Of course we have been running an investigation into this for some time now,” he said on-air.
“It has culminated in this person being put before the court.
“We think this is quite serious and of course what we are concerned about is those 600-plus people – what have those certificates been used for – because they have no substance as we will allege in the court case.”
He said police were currently working to track down Ms Pau’s clients.
“Of course, like any investigation, we will take possession of the evidence we can from the person we have charged and we will have to work through that, that will take time,” he said.
“Of course, a … lot of this was done online so it is about doing our investigations, tracking people down, properly identifying them and then doing the investigation of that particular person.”
The Deputy Police Commissioner also said Queensland Police was facing a constant battle against people trying to sneak across the border from NSW, as the Queensland border remains closed due to Covid restrictions.
“I think yesterday we gave out six on-the-spot fines for border breaches,” he said.
“This has been pretty consistent for some time now as we know.
“Of course, people are wanting to see it opened and no doubt one day in the not-too-distant future it will open, but of course we have to do the work, understand the risk and it is a matter for government to assess all of the issues that come to play in keeping our community safe, making sure we can open safely and all the systems work.”
Meanwhile, in an exclusive interview with news.com.au, Ms Pau insisted she had done “nothing wrong” and described the police’s execution of a search warrant on Thursday morning as “scary”.
“They took my laptop, they took my phones, they took everything, and all I’m simply doing is protecting the people that don’t want to suffer the adverse effects of Covid-19 PCR tests,” she said.
“What I have concerns about is people with really informed consent. So if they choose to wait for a certain period of time, and if they have medical conditions that could affect them if they were to have the Covid vaccination, then that’s what I talked to them about.
“Then they decide for themselves whether they choose to get the vaccination or not according to the adverse effects, and all the research that’s out there about the Covid vaccination.”
Additional reporting by Samantha Maiden