The Thai Immigration Bureau (TIB) on Monday received five new Verifier Travel Document and Bearer (TD&B) workstations from IOM – the UN Migration Agency – to strengthen the country’s border control and detect passport and identity fraud.
The donation is part of the efforts by the agency and the TIB to curb irregular migration and combat transnational organised crime as part of the “Strengthening Border Management and Intelligence Capacity of Thai Government Officials” project, which is funded by the government of Canada.
Developed by IOM, the Verifier TD&B is an automated, stand-alone system designed to help border-control officers to conduct secondary inspections quickly and efficiently, with a suspect traveller’s passport being verifiable within 10 seconds.
Since the system was first installed in Thailand in 2014 at Suvarnabhumi Airport, Don Mueang International Airport and TIB headquarters, 114 cases of fraudulent passports and 41 cases of imposters have been identified.
Thailand is one of 15 countries in the Asia-Pacific where the system operates.
The five new Verifier TD&B workstations extend the system’s coverage to four additional key Thai airports and land checkpoints nationwide: Chiang Mai International Airport, Phuket International Airport, Sadao checkpoint and Aranyaprathet checkpoint.
Speaking at the handover ceremony in Bangkok, TIB deputy commissioner Pol Maj-General Pornchai Kuntee reaffirmed the bureau’s commitment to tackling passport fraud.
“Forgers are developing increasingly sophisticated methods to circumvent enhanced security elements embedded within passports. The Verifier TD&B will enable us to manage our operations in accordance with international standards,” he said.
The Canadian ambassador to Thailand, Donica Pottie, highlighted Canada’s commitment to tackling irregular migration globally.
“Fraudulent identity and travel documents represent a threat to the integrity of our border-control systems and potentially to our national interests and security. To respond to this challenge, Canada has been working closely with IOM and the government of Thailand on a wide range of security initiatives, including those related to anti-migrant smuggling
and counter-terrorism,” she said.
IOM Thailand chief of mission Dana Graber Ladek added: “States need to address the challenge of ensuring the right balance between open, but at the same time secured and controlled borders. The monitoring and identification of passport fraud plays a crucial role in the suppression of transnational crime.”
Effective border management remains a priority issue for the Kingdom, which welcomed a record 32.59 million visitors last year.
Thai authorities in recent years have smashed several passport-forgery rings linked to the global trade in illicit-drug trafficking, trafficking in persons and migrant-smuggling.