22,000 passports seized
May 10, 2008
Second Thai Counterfeit Passport Ring Broken Up This Month: Nearly 22,000 ( American ) Passports Seized
By Zachary Abuza
Today Thai authorities announced arrests in an enormous counterfeit passport ring. 12 people were arrested and some 20,000 fake passports were seized. It was the second such arrest in the past month.
The 12-person gang, included Thais, Burmese, and Indonesians. The 20,000 passports were from a diverse group of countries: Burma, Brunei, Canada, France, Germany, Malaysia, Russia, Sweden and the United States. Thai police reported that 2,000 of the passports were ready to be used.
The ringleader of the cell, Somkhuan Muen-in, had nearly 10-year career in document forging, people and arms smuggling. Police assert that he had smuggled arms for the Tamil Tigers in 2003.
On 29 April, Police arrested a Bangladeshi national, who had 90 real passports, 577 fake US and European passports, 680 counterfeit visas and 1,680 fake passport photo pages, mostly for American passports. One Burmese accomplice was also arrested.
Thailand continues to be a hub for passport and document forging. In late 2006, a Thai and Pakistani were arrested with some 500 fake passports in a joint US-Thai operation. In August 2005, Thai authorities arrested a Syrian-born British subject, Atamnia Yachine, with ties to the 7/7 London bombers, with 186 fake French and Spanish passports. That same month, Thai authorities arrested Mahiededine Daikh, in possession of 452 fake passports.
May 10, 2008 08:05 AM Link 22