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Passport checks: how hard can it be?

Every foreigner visiting or living in Thailand must be concerned about losing their passport or having it stolen. All foreigners are required to carry their passport, as opposed to a copy thereof, at all times.

This alone increases the risk of loss or theft. In addition all foreigners living here must present their passport every 90 days to Immigration, thus making many thousands of passport copies stored in immigration records every year. One can only hope storage of the copies is secure. With counterfeit skills so readily available here, it is an easy step to prepare a counterfeit passport from the data on a copy.

Any person using a forged or stolen passport is a criminal regardless of their criminal intent. As international records of all passports reported stolen are available, it is truly amazing that checks against this database are not automatically built into routine security at every international airport. Surely, an efficient computer check would take less time and be more immediately productive than taking thumb prints, as was reportedly done by Malaysia authorities in the case some boarding the missing airliner. The obvious objective is to stop anyone with a stolen passport from getting on a plane and immediately hand them over to the police. How hard can that be?

Chris Kaye

Chon Buri


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