Look at the headlines…look at the Tweets >>> Stolen & Fake Passports And The MH370 Disappearance
For sure INTERPOL is right to claim the lack of passport checks! Now we all pay big money for our high-tech biometric passports with a validity of 3 to 10 years (depends on the issuing country) and “nobody” checks them sufficient! INTERPOL has a huge database of lost & stolen travel documents but according them only USA, UK and Switzerland are using them frequently. Didn’t we all would assume that when having your security check at the border control and they “scan” your passport a verification of lost or stolen would be included? Well, now we know it’s not.
But also the application process to get a passport is under critics as it seems also there are security gaps because applicants deliver fake personal data to obtain a travel document. A (security) system is just as strong as the weakest part in the chain…
(Extract from AP, 10 Mar, 2014 – Jamey Keaten)
More than 1 billion times last year, travelers boarded planes without their passports being checked against Interpol’s database of 40 million stolen or lost travel documents, the Lyon-based police body said. Interpol Secretary General Ronald K. Noble said in a statement Sunday that it has long asked why countries would “wait for a tragedy to put prudent security measures in place at borders and boarding gates.”
Officials cite recent instances of use of stolen travel documents: A war crimes suspect who tried to attend a conference in Congo, but was instead arrested; the killer of the Serbian prime minister crossed 27 borders on a missing passport before he was caught; Samantha Lewthwaite, the former wife of one of the suicide bombers in the 2005 attack on London’s transit system, escaped capture when she produced a fraudulently obtained South African passport.
Sometimes, authorities are outmatched: Ticket-buying regulations and border control techniques vary from country to country, and an Interpol official says there’s no one-size-fits-all explanation why some countries don’t use its database systematically.
For the last decade, Interpol has stocked and shared information on stolen or lost passports in ways few international agencies can: it has 190 member countries. And air security is increasingly international work: the Malaysia flight had mostly Chinese and Malaysian passengers, but Americans, Australians, French, Indians Indonesians and Ukrainians too.
The Interpol stolen or lost travel documents database draws on information from 167 countries. It was searched more than 800 million times last year — but one in eight searches was conducted by the United Arab Emirates alone. The U.S. and Britain are other big users, and France and Switzerland routinely check it too, Interpol officials said.
“Now, we have a real case where the world is speculating whether the stolen passport holders were terrorists, while Interpol is asking why only a handful of countries worldwide are taking care to make sure that persons possessing stolen passports are not boarding international flights,” Noble said Sunday of the Malaysia flight.
The declared thefts of the two passports used — one of Austrian national Christian Kozel in 2012, and one of Luigi Maraldi of Italy last year — were entered into Interpol’s database after they were stolen in Thailand, the police body said. Authorities are examining other suspicious passports and working to determine the true identities of those who used the stolen passports to board the Malaysia Airlines flight.
In Thailand, where immigration police last year caught a Thai man with 5,000 fake passports, officials say international cooperation helps, but passport forgers are now using advanced technology, and can evade capture with techniques like finding a lookalike to match the passport, or altering the passport photo.
“It must take great skills and expertise by our officers to detect the fake passports and visa stamps because the system cannot detect them the whole time,” said Maj. Gen. Warawuth Thaweechaikarn, commander of the Immigration Police’s investigative division.
Interpol wants to get airlines involved. It’s preparing an initiative called “I-Checkit” that will let businesspeople in the travel, banking and hospitality industries screen documents against the lost documents database when customers book a flight, check into a hotel room or open a financial account. The project is still being worked out, an official said.
Police Lt. Gen. Panya Maman told reporters that Maraldi, the 37-year-old Italian, had deposited his passport as a guarantee at a motorbike rental shop. But when he returned the bike, the shop said they’d already given his passport to some guy who looked like him. Maraldi then filed a missing passport report to local police in Phuket in July. Speaking Sunday in Bangkok, Maraldi said he had no idea who made off with it.