Quite a long article, but interesting (and not a little disturbing).
Thailand Now Fake Passport Capital for Criminal Underworld, Terrorists
Thailand has emerged as one of the criminal world's main sources for fake and altered passports for frauds, fugitives and terrorists, including at least one al-Qaida-linked operative, Thai and foreign police say.
Thai police previously viewed forgery as a petty crime. But under pressure from Western governments after the Sept. 11 attacks, they say they are now cracking down on the black market that aided Hambali, the mastermind of the 2002 Bali attacks and alleged leader of al-Qaida-linked Southeast Asian terror group, Jemaah Islamiyah.
Hambali, who goes by one name, had a forged Spanish passport that portrayed him as a well-groomed businessman when he was arrested in the central Thai city of Ayuthaya in August 2003.
Police arrested Bangladeshi Mohammed Ali Hossain, the man who allegedly supplied Hambali with the passport, last September.
"The people who use these fake documents and passports are terrorists, fugitives and people illegally transferring or laundering money or opening bank accounts," said Col Chote Kuldiloke, who oversees such investigations at the Immigration Police Bureau.
It is difficult to determine the extent of terrorist involvement in the fake passport trade in Bangkok. But when suspects are arrested, Thai police often summon their foreign counterparts to inspect the seized documents and help investigate possible ties to terrorism.
The most commonly seized fakes are Belgian, French, Portuguese and Spanish passports, which Thai police say are easily copied. Thai police seized 353 such passports from a Greek courier en route to London in March 2004 and 100 from a Spaniard and Dutchman trying to sell them in February to an undercover policeman in Bangkok. Another 452 were taken from Algerian-born Briton Mahieddine Daikh, who was going to deliver them to London in early August.
A Thai policeman who works closely with the Australian police said up to 90 percent of fake passports leaving Thailand are bound for London.
These fakes are passable likenesses of the originals and cost the buyer from US $25 to $50. They are often used to open bank accounts or rent apartments.
More rare and expensive are the lost or stolen passports—some of which have been sold by tourists to black market buyers. They are used by criminals to cross borders, where immigration officials' eyes are better trained to spot fakes.
Many of these passports are sold by or stolen from the more than 10 million tourists who visit Thailand each year.
One 24-year-old French tourist said he was offered $240 by a clean-cut Iranian man in his 30s staying at the same guesthouse he was at on Bangkok's Khao San Road—the popular backpacker district that police say is a major source of black market passports.
"Some Westerners will sell their passports for $500 to get quick cash, and then they'll say it was stolen, so it's hard to crack down," immigration policeman Chote said.
The passport is then sold to an alterer, who will change either the photo, the page with biographical data or the entire cover of the book. What counts are the visas inside.
Thai police teamed up with a Pakistani man who acted as a buyer to catch alterer Sabananthan Kanagasabai, who carried his real Sri Lankan passport as well as at least four fakes—three from India and one from Canada.
His work was impeccable, but crafted with simple items such as a laminator, blow dryer, hole puncher, paper cutter and a desktop computer, all in his modest studio apartment workspace. Police found 73 fake visa and immigration stamps from around the world, including Thai and Indonesian consular stamps from Munich, Madras, Paris and Vientiane.
They seized from him 255 passports from 33 different countries, mostly European and Asian. He would deliver the altered passports by FedEx in a hidden compartment cut inside a children's book, Beatrix Potter's Nursery Rhyme Book.
A passport with visas to the United States or the United Kingdom, which are hard to fake because of stricter security measures, can sell for $2,400. A US passport with a changed photo can fetch $2,900.
Australian Federal Police and their Thai counterparts have set up an intelligence center to tackle transnational crime and forgery, and police from eight countries—Canada, France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Japan, Australia and the United States—convene with Thai police at a monthly meeting in Bangkok to fight identity fraud.
One European police officer said he has been stationed in Bangkok for 18 months specifically because of forged passports, which he called "a bridge to all sorts of criminality." He said forged passports sourced from Thailand emerged as a problem in his country two to three years ago. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he did not want his identity and presence here to be known by criminals.
"Thailand is a country where you can buy knockoff DVDs, handbags. Passports are just another part of that industry to a degree. The mindset of the passport producer is the same as the person producing Rolex watches: It's a business venture," he said.
The maximum punishment is relatively light—five years’ jail time and a $240 fine for faking Thai government documents or possession of stolen property, such as a foreign passport. Chote said police are trying to exact a harsher penalty by multiplying it by the number of fake documents seized.
Thailand Now Fake Passport Capital for Criminal Underworld, Terrorists
and from another publication, The China Post
Thai police seize 21,000 fake passports, arrest 12 people
Saturday, May 10, 2008
BANGKOK -- Thai police Friday seized nearly 21,000 fake passports and arrested 12 people in what they described as their biggest-ever bust of a counterfeiting ring, a senior official said.
Most of the 20,904 documents seized were fake passports that not yet been completed, Lieutenant General Chatchawal Suksomjit, commander of Immigration police told AFP.
But 2,300 of them were completely faked versions of passports from France, Suriname, Norway, Belgium, Italy and Myanmar, he said.
Thai police seize 21,000 fake passports, arrest 12 people - The China Post
The suspects arrested included seven people from Myanmar and an Indonesian. The nationalities of the others was not immediately certain, Chatchawal said.
Sorry, I had to see the thread that had 1,700 views and only one reply.
So Fakepassport.ws. How much you charge for one from Bombombaloo?
The Thai press and police make it easy by publishing pictures of the ID pages in news stories.
No real mention of fake Candian passports.
A little disappointing to say the least.
Which reminds me I was watching the BBC Doha debates the other night and half the questions came from Arab folks affirming they were Canadians
What the hell is going on with that I wonder.?
Anyway, yes...back to topic.
Last edited by russellsimpson; 18th November 2009 at 19:23. Reason: Automerged Doublepost
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Yes, but who would want one. Even the Hmong turn those down.