posted on Dec, 15 2013 @ 11:00 AM
Before I start this thread I'd like to explain that GAS doesn't relate to gas or petrol. It's short for Gemeentelijke Administratieve
Sanctie and basically is an administrative fine that has been introduced years ago to fight public nuisance.
Problem is every city now has the freedom to define "nuisance" and how much they charge for offences (with a maximum fine of 350€). Something
might be forbidden in one city but not in the other. This has caused a lot of outrage because it firstly is a total arbitrary system, secondly it
restricts a lot of our freedom and thirdly it has quickly deteriorated into the most absurd form of rules and laws.
I'll start of with an anthology of some of these rules per city. Again, if these rules are broken a civil servent has the right to fine citizens if
Kortrijk: "It's forbidden to insult people."
Deinze: "During carnival, it's forbidden to pick up confetti and throw it."
Dendermonde: "It's forbidden to cycle in groups."
Dendermonde: "It's forbidden to slide down a water-slide in pairs."
Mechelen: "Ding-dong ditch is forbidden. Penalty is a 350€ fine."
Antwerpen and Menen: "It's forbidden to feed the ducks in the park."
Beveren: "It's forbidden to remove bird nests."
Gent: "Taking out the trash too early: 120€ fine. On places where there are works on the street, it's forbidden to pick up the sand for a period
of 15 days. Beggars may not address other people or act intrusive."
Leuven: "It's forbidden for street-musicians to play out of tune."
Mol: "It's forbidden to scare someone."
Hasselt-Zonhoven-Diepenbeek: "Forbidden to sit on the railing of a public seat. Forbidden to cover the face."
Lokeren: "It's forbidden to practice fortune telling, explaining dreams or other quack."
Schaarbeek: "It's forbidden to transport a person who suffers from a contagious illness other than an ambulance. Forbidden to shake carpets above
the public road."
Lier: "It's forbidden to have more than 5 cats or dogs inside a closed building or apartment."
Oudenburg: "Owning a pit-bull terrier is forbidden. If the animal is dangerous, it may be killed on the spot."
De Panne: "A fine when your house-number is missing."
Roeselare: "Forbidden for students to use wax crayons during the last 100 days celebration."
Zelzate: "Pets may not induce abnormal nuisance by continuous barking or mewing."
Oudenaarde: "Forbidden to lift wish-balloons up into the air."
Ronse: "Forbidden to make noise without reason or necessity."
Dendermonde: "Forbidden to leave ice-cones on the outside of roofs."
Dendermonde: "Forbidden to clean graves on November 1st & 2nd."
Willebroek: "Forbidden to hinder people in a public building like door-openings, telephone booths, waiting queues, garages, bicycle-stalls."
Borgloon: "The organizer of a public meeting which doesn't take place in open air has to warn the mayor about this 48 hours in front."
Hasselt: "Places that are reserved for specific sports or games may not be used for other sports, games or other activities."
Lokeren: "Forbidden to take field fruits or other useful products if they're not already loose from the soil."
Hasselt: "If not prepared in a bucket, it's forbidden to make mortar in the cemeteries."
Wellen: "Only biodegradable confetti with a diameter of approx. 10mm is allowed."
Dendermonde: "It's forbidden to knock on doors or windows secretly or without necessity."
Lede: "Open fires in housings are forbidden."
Hasselt: "It's forbidden to use lasers or light-beams without prior written approval of the mayor."
Dendermonde: "It's forbidden to sing indecent songs in public or to act as such towards others."
Rumst: "It's forbidden to fly RC planes without prior written approval of the mayor."
Gent: "He who rents a bike will handle it like 'a good house father' would."
Mortsel: "Doors, portals, fences, etc. may not open towards the public road."
So this is the kind of nonsense that has been released on the Belgian people. Note that there's not a single form of real criminal behaviour in this
list and that it's only a cheap measure to fill the government's pockets on the backs of the good, hard working and law-abiding citizen who makes
one of these "mistakes". The message is clear: Wake up, go to work, go home and stay home! Abide our rules and be good. Anyone who walks outside the
line will be punished. It just makes me sick!
Talking about sick: If you suddenly feel sick while walking the roads of Antwerpen or Leuven and you have to puke, you'll get a fine because it's
illegal to puke there. Better swallow it all back in and hope for the best.
Got car trouble? In a certain police zone it's illegal to perform repairs on your car on the public road. So, if you've got a flat tire and replace
it and get caught, you'll get a fine.
A woman from Herentals left the bank and threw 4 receipts into the trash bin: 250€ fine.
A guy from Temse throwing a Halloween party got one phone call from a neighbour because his music was to loud. The Police visited him 4 times.
Resulted in a 80€ fine.
In the whole Flemish region there's now a zero tolerance against lighting fireworks during the holidays. If you still want to light some, say, with
the kids in your own backyard. You'll have to ask permission from the mayor.
An Antwerp art-house got a GAS-fine because they organised a protest in the form of handing out flyers against... ... GAS-fines.
A grandmother (I can't remember where she lives) got a fine because she was picking flowers with her grandchildren last summer.
Lots of schoolchildren from Mechelen have been fined for eating a sandwich on the stone stairs in front of a church. One of them, a 17 year old boy,
was kept three hours at the police station and fined 100€. His crime? Spilling breadcrumbs and a piece of carrot...
Antwerpen has fined kids throwing snowballs.
Merchtem has fined children who were playing soccer in the vicinity of pigeon fanciers.
A lot of people in Antwerpen know a woman named Debby Strybosch. Marked as the most diligent civil servant fining people like she's grinding on a
Facebook game has earned her a promotion as head of the Civil Order Department in Antwerpen.
I can go and on. Such absurdity makes my head spin!
A fine is always debatable in court. But not everyone has the courage or knowledge do to so. Still, these are measures to bully citizens until the
point they're tired to fight and just obey. There's a lot of debate going on about this issue in Belgium but progress is minimal with the exception
of some promises from cities to tone down the rules or maybe even expunge it all together. Still, 8 out of 10 cities use these GAS-fines. Nobody ever
asked for it and just one day our government just pushed these GAS-fines down our throats! Ten thousands of people have already been fined for
violations. "Katsjing!" anyone?